July 29, 2011

Google Takes On the Hotel Industry

There isn’t much in this world that Google (News - Alert) isn’t getting its hands onto and giving it their own personal Google touch. Now that it has made its foray into social networking with its Google+ service, the Internet guru is joining the ranks of PriceLine and Travelocity.

Google’s new “Hotel Finder“ marries the technology of Google’s search engine algorithms and helps users easily find the perfect hotel.

Google Hotel Finder organizes options with filter options, such as figuring out where to stay. Hotel Finder shines a “tourist spotlight” on the most-visited areas of U.S. cities. Google selects an initial shape based on what’s most popular.

In the “Compared to typical” section, you can see how each hotel’s price compares to its historical average, so you can tell if it’s good value. When you select a hotel in Hotel Finder, Google shows a collage of images, Google Places reviews, and key information right within the list.

Users can also add the hotels to a shortlist to easily keep track of the ones of interest. The tool is only available for locations in the U.S.

This is just one new tool Google is adding to its list of services in spite of its recent headlines of letting its Google Labs go by the wayside.

Last week, the company announced its plans to halt Google Labs in an effort to resort and “prioritize” their product output.

“In many cases, this will mean ending Labs experiments – in others we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas,” wrote Bill Coughran. “And many of the Labs products that are Android (News - Alert) apps today will continue to be available on Android Market. We’ll update you on our progress via the Google Labs website.”

Google has also completely removed the Google Directory as a Google service. Going to directory.google.com will show you a notice that reads the “Google Directory is no longer available.”

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell