Skift Take

Google, in theory, like TripAdvisor, has the ability to put it all together and become a one-stop shop in travel but Oliver Heckmann, who heads Google's travel products, says that isn't part of the search engine's grand scheme. We sort of believe him (stay tuned for more).

Distracted, multitasking users are spending less time per mobile session these days, Google found, and that’s one reason the search engine — or “connector,” as it dubs itself in the latest parlance — is optimizing the mobile experience and hosting bookings for Lufthansa, Virgin America, and WestJet, and is in talks to do likewise for other partners.

That was the word from Oliver Heckmann, a Google vice president of engineering who heads its travel products, as he spoke at the Skift Global Forum 2016 last month in New York City about Google’s master plan in travel, its new tours and activities and messaging apps, and why he feels that the future voice search and assistant service could be as huge as the shift to mobile.

When challenged about Google downplaying organic links in favor of its own products, Heckmann countered that the three hotels it displays in Google’s Hotel Ads, for example, are organically ranked and that the “vast majority” of clicks from Hotel Ads go to natural — and not its paid — results.

At last month’s Skift Global Forum 2016 in New York City, we heard from CEOs and key executives of travel startups and established brands alike.

Watch the complete discussion with Google’s Heckmann below in the following video.

Read more coverage of Skift Global Forum 2016

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2017 events, including our London event in April of 2017.


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Tags: google, sgf2016, skift global forum

Photo credit: Oliver Heckmann (right) of Google believes the future of voice search and assistance could be as game-changing as the shift to mobile. Executive Editor Dennis Schaal spoke to him at Skift Global Forum 2016. Skift

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