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Google Travel Rumor On The Road

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Google is still advertising for vertical market account executives and strategists in Chicago, but the travel position has triggered the “Google enters travel sector” talk.

The search advertising company began hunting for Chicago-based account executives last November, in the local, retail, tech communications, and travel verticals. About a month later, Google ads began showing up in the Chicago Sun-Times.

That deal permitted Google to fill up “remnant space” in the paper, with ads relevant to the context of the surrounding content. Handling those ads meant bringing people on-board to work with clients locally, thus Google looked for job candidates to handle those positions.

Recently Google places more ads on Mediabistro.com, the same site where they first advertised for Chicago-area talent. Russell Shaw has taken this latest round of want ads to indicate something more that ad selling: a travel portal from Google, partnered with Orbitz.

Shaw makes the case that Orbitz, based in Chicago, could saddle up with Google on this deal. Content Google already possesses on destinations could figure into Google Travel searches, and feed that to the Orbitz-powered Google Travel portal.

It’s difficult to see where this deal would make sense for Google, though. Travel sites make virtually nothing on booking airfare; it’s the hotels and other add-ons that return a commission to them. Why would Google settle for a minuscule piece of the travel pie?

There is a lot of functionality Google could provide to Orbitz or another travel search engine. They would likely make more money by selling Orbitz that content and contextual advertising than they would in building a search site.

Content Google has in its databases belongs to other people or companies. For Google to start providing that as part of a search service sounds interesting enough, but the content Google has indexed belongs to those who created it in the first place. Maybe that would fall under the fair use that lets Google index it in the first place, maybe not.

Google’s Mediabistro ads may be just more advertising sales support for the Chicago market. If they do launch Google Travel with Orbitz as a partner, be sure to let me know how wrong I was.

Personally, I think it’s more interesting that Google is hiring an account coordinator for Dallas, TX. Google Oil, anyone?

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Google Travel Rumor On The Road
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