It's interesting to see how Google's looking to diversify its products and expand on its direct business and commerce potential.
For example, the search giant recently added in a new way for people to 'follow' businesses via Google Maps, enabling them to get business-specific updates within the app. And now, Google's rolling out another business tool, with its advanced hotel features, currently available within the app, now coming to the web as well.
As explained by Google:
"Earlier this year, we redesigned our hotel search experience so you can more easily explore and filter for hotels on your mobile device. We see that travelers love interacting with the new mobile features - so beginning today, we’re bringing the same modern look and feel to Hotel Search on desktop, too."
The additional options make it easier to find information about specific accommodation options within Google search results, including hotel details, reviews and booking prices.
That might be a problem for booking sites, which group together the various price listings for each hotel. If users are able to get that same information from Google, they could be less inclined to click through to other search options.
But particularly interesting is the addition of user-submitted photos for each hotel, which Google can access via Google Images.
That expanded pool of images could be particularly appealing, while it will also enable Google to crowd-source photos to help provide even more context.
As we've noted in regards to Google's evolving business tools previously, the search giant is keen to keep building out its offerings in this regard in order to fend off potential competition from Facebook and other social media platforms. If users can find more relevant information and insights within those apps, Google search becomes less valuable - but Google still holds the majority of business-search related attention, being the most used search engine in the world (by a significant margin).
For Google to secure its longer-term business objectives, it needs to provide more tools like this which incorporate similar elements to what you can find on social platforms, and other sites, which also impede on Google's core search capabilities. Google has all the data, all the resources to provide similar - why not keep users on its platform by maximizing such, as opposed to simply letting smaller competitors eat away at its market share?
As such, it's interesting to see how Google is slowly evolving its offerings in this line, which is relevant for digital marketers, of course, while also pointing to the future development of Google's tools - particularly given the demise of its attempted social platform Google+.