Google getting into Social Media was an obvious step for them. So the birth of Google+ was no surprise.
They were never going to let Facebook have it all.
Whilst Google has spent much of it’s effort focussed around search, and search related innovations, it has to make a shift to access the rich data that Social offers. Google is then able to use this knowledge to enhance search results elsewhere.
Therefore when we see Google launch a Hotel Finder it is the use of this data that has helped them make the business decision to drive into this niche. Using the business intelligence gained from it’s advertisers it can position itself in strategically strong channels. Learning from the strengths and weaknesses of it’s own customers to take the channel and monetise it.
The application has made excellent use of Google Places to enhance the search so that you can look for hotels based on tourist attractions you wish to visit. Combine this with Google’s version of Groupon discounts and you have a very strong contender in the travel sector. With plenty of room for expansion and diversification.
Directory based sites such as this have been abundant; they are the typical, inexperienced web start-up business idea, that rarely succeeds. With a lack of original content they are unable to attract traffic and therefore advertisers.
Google will face neither issue. It has done it’s research, carefully choosing a rich seam from which to extract revenue. In typical Google fashion the first offering is lightweight, but functional. You can be sure it will expand quickly should it prove profitable.
This is a great lesson for many fledgling businesses that often fail to do the background research. They try to launch with too complex an offering, or even worse take a guess that there may be a market for what they are offering with no real idea whether one exists. There is no excuse for not using data for business intelligence these days.
Market research is no more than a Google Ad and web form away.
What other sectors is Google likely to mine in the hunt for profitable niches?