Por Andy Richardson – Publishing perspectives
Google gave us a fascinating insight into how the search giant sees its future when it announced it would be buying the US travel guide publisher, Frommer’s, from Wiley. The price tag on the deal is tiny by tech standards at only $25 million (compare this to the $1 billion that Facebook paid for Instagram earlier this year), but its strategic potential to the search giant is enormous — and this is why.
Up until relatively recently, Google has tried to position itself somewhere above the content business. Its objective as a search company was to provide the technology, platforms and services that would enable users to find the content they need and be sure they were getting it from a reliable source. By positioning itself as “neutral” (even though some people would argue it’s never been anything of the sort) it managed to make “Googling” the de facto course of action whenever someone wanted to search out a news story, a video or research a purchase.
It might therefore seem odd for Google even to think about buying a company like Frommer’s, which publishes travel guide books. Why should a company that has made billions by building technology that would allow it to leverage other people’s content invest in its own? Well, I think there’s one very good reason: context.