Google may be best known for the search engine the majority of use everyday to get what we want online, but we obviously know Google for much more than that now. Beyond Android and their own web services like Gmail, Drive, Docs and more they’ve steadily been spreading into other online services. One area of this is travel and lifestyle services. On the Android side of things, Google spent a lot of time and effort producing the cult-hit Field Trip, allowing people to make the most of their time while traveling. They also now own popular restaurant recommendation service Zagat and along with Google Flights, they’ve become a great avenue for travellers.
Now, in a recent round of funding – totalling around $60 Million – for exclusive, member-only firm Secret Escapes, Google Ventures has put up some money as well. Secret Escapes is a member-only website, meaning people need to become part of the service to get the advertised special rates. Exclusive travel like this seems to be taking off in a world where we can plan a trip to mostly anywhere on the globe as it adds a certain level of excitement to choosing a trip already put together for you. Not only that, but the fact that you need to be a member of said site makes it seem all the more special.
For Google, this probably represents an opportunity of what’s next, rather than what’s now. With Facebook starting to squeeze Google’s ad revenue, places like the Play Store and new areas like online travel and lifestyle will be where Google can start to generate new revenue to supplement any ad revenue that they might be losing from competing with Facebook and Twitter. Either way, this is an interesting move for Google, and it could become part of their core business in the next couple of years, not so much Secret Escapes, but more so the online travel and lifestyle sector as a whole. Those looking for somewhere to stay, or looking to choose a new restaurant have never had it easier thanks to the Internet, and as making things easy online seems to be Google’s aim in life, this sort of move makes a lot of sense.