Google shutting Trips app in consolidation effort

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Google will close its Google Trips app in August. The search giant quietly updated the app's help page this week to reveal support for the product will cease after almost three years in the market.

The app was available for both iOS and Android smartphone users and was seen as another step in its ambition to organize itineraries and keep travelers within the Google ecosystem when on the road.

It pulled content together from both the web and users into single service, giving travelers destination information and listings for their upcoming trips and reservations by adding flight and hotel reservation details from Gmail and Google Calendar.

Google is saying little about the closure, with an official noting via email: "We're evolving the Google Trips experience from a standalone app to an integrated part of trip planning across Google. Now, travelers can more easily plan trips on Search and Maps, where they already turn to for travel information."

What it has done is direct users of the app to its much broader area -- a web-based platform (also optimized for mobile) that has grown in a piecemeal way over the years but now stands as a substantial service in its own right.

The features from Trips (content and upcoming user reservations) are available in Google Search and Google Maps, it says.

Upcoming and previous reservations are now included in and users will soon be able to edit details there, as well as save ideas for things to do, attractions, etc.

The shift to a single home for everything that is involved in a trip, including the closure of the standalone app, should not come as a huge surprise.

Last month, Google vice president for product management Richard Holden talked users through a number of features and made no mention of the existing Trips app.

The central platform now includes trip details (past and upcoming), destination content (articles, videos, recommendations, reviews), flight search, hotel search and package search.

The noteworthy elements missing (at the moment) are ground transportation search (car rental, ride-hailing), cruise, and tours and activities -- the latter currently being provided via Google offshoot Touring Bird.

Any industry watchers hoping that the closure of Trips is some kind of reining in of Google's strategy in travel will be disappointed.

On the contrary, in fact.

Closing the app allows Google to concentrate on a web-based service with no need for app store updates and ability to collect a user's data for reservations not limited to that held on a smartphone.

While branding is rarely a consideration when it comes to Google, having everything under one roof (Google Travel, rather than Google Travel and an app called Trips) will help channel users into a single place for search, shopping for travel products, itinerary management and information.

Google's sharpening of its travel strategy, at least from a front-end, user perspective, may not have immediate consequences on the industry.

But what it may do is equally sharpen the opinions of those (especially the likes of Booking Holdings and Expedia Group, who collectively spent $10.6 billion on digital marketing in 2018) that continue to question their ability to fund a brand that is actively competing against them.

Source: PhocusWire

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