Google to Acquire Frommers

Travel brand will join Zagat as search giant looks to bolster Google Places

Google is looking to expand its local and travel review components with the acquisition of the Frommers travel brand from John Wiley & Sons, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal

The purchase price has yet to be disclosed, but nearly a year ago—last September—Google acquired the well-known Zagat brand for just over $150 million. The Zagat acquisition, which thrust Google into the decidedly non-techy world of restaurant reviews, was largely the work of then-Googler and current Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. 

The addition of Frommers will allow Google to expand its repertoire of reviews and information outside the restaurant sphere. Currently, Frommers offers a selection of travel deals, photo slideshows, updated blogs and even user-generated travel content from around the world, which will no doubt be leveraged as Google Places looks to own the hotly contested (and highly disjointed) local and maps space.

In fact, the Frommers acquisition is just one in a series of local/travel-focused initiatives for the search giant. In May, Google Places integrated Google Plus into its user experience to draw users into the highly populated, but sparsely used social network.

It is unclear whether Frommers, which has existed in print form as a guidebook since the late 1950s, will continue to publish physical copies going forward. Early speculation suggests there could be some new print vehicle combining Frommers information with that of Zagat, but as of yet there are no definitive plans.