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 Google.com/travel 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
Google.com/travel 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
Last month, Google vice president for product management Richard
Holden talked users through a number of Google.com/travel 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
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
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.