Google: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave

26 May 2017

Image: Atomazul/Shutterstock

Google is building a new tool to allow users keep track of hotel reviews, perhaps in a bid to keep people from moving on to fully fledged booking sites.

Tech giant Google likes to be the centre of attention. Its search engine is a perfect example of this, though there are many other tools knocking about showing the company’s thirst for users’ time.

Google hotel

Amping it up

Future Human

For example, Google’s partnership with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is one of the more creative shifts in recent months.

According to Google’s latest figures, pages read through AMP load twice as fast as before, via Google Search, with 2bn pages across 900,000 domains now read through the medium.

While it’s not dragging traffic away from news sites, it does mean users are remaining housed in Google’s constructs.

And it’s this AMP approach that we’re reminded of when news of Google’s hospitality plans began leaking out this month.

Checking in

The company is rolling out a new tool to allow users keep track of hotel reviews, following a few weeks of tests in the wild.

“Google is continually improving the information shown to people to help them make decisions about where to go,” said Google.

“When people are searching for a hotel to stay at, we want to ensure we make it easy for people to find useful and relevant web reviews about that place to help them make informed decisions.”

Third-party reviews – those from Expedia, for example – will show in a carousel for some hotel listings. According to Search Engine Land, the review overview section has a more robust interface, showing stronger colours.

“The detailed review section will show a graphical user interface based on type of travel,” according to the report.

Earlier today (26 May), Google revealed another new product: Data GIF Maker.

The service is aimed at journalists, bloggers and general storytellers as a way to spice up data, enhance articles and bring simple text to a better level.

“Data visualisations are an essential storytelling tool in journalism, and though they are often intricate, they don’t have to be complex,” said Google.

“In fact, with the growth of mobile devices as a primary method of consuming news, data visualisations can be simple images formatted for the device they appear on.

“We typically use the tool to represent competing search interest, but it can show whatever you want it to – polling numbers, sales figures, movie ratings etc.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic