Google hints at UK plans – 9 March

Google has confirmed it will introduce further functionality for travel across its UK site similar to that in the US.

After much speculation about Google’s plans for a vertical entry into the travel market, the search giant’s head of travel for Europe, Esteban Walther, at last admitted that the site will matching up search results wuth a transaction function to its site in the UK “very soon”.

Google has been quietly beta-testing the integration on its dot-com site, prompting would-be holidaymakers to enter their destination and date of departure on the top of the results page and offering a direct link to America’s top five online agencies – Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline and Hotwire.

Similar features, albeit non-travel-related, already exist in Britain, including a function which allows visitors searching for a cinema listing to get show times and locations without leaving the initial search results page.

Google also recently added maps against results for certain travel-related searches.

Search results against “Hotel Hilton London”, “Hotels ‘New York ’” and “Hotels ‘San Francisco’”, for example, are – alongside the maps – also showing pay-per-click slots for hotel websites and links to a page of user reviews gleaned form the sites such as TripAdvisor.

Google, until now, had remained tight-lipped about its plans to launch a vertical search engine for travel, which the industry has aptly dubbed Troogle.

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