When the Google behemoth speaks about travel, as one official did during the company's third quarter conference call yesterday, we listen.
But, all we got were more generalities and little substance about Google's intentions in the travel vertical.
Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's senior vice president of product management, was discussing chrome [not the browser] toasters and Google's efforts to improve the shopping vertical.
"Real estate, finance, and travel are also other areas that we're going to get quite focused on and obviously we will also continue to improve Google horizontally," Rosenberg said.
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We didn't get much substance from Rosenberg. We've been waiting to learn more about the focus for at least four or five years.
Google, of course, already has a huge travel-advertising business, but we'll have to twiddle our thumbs some more to learn where the renewed travel focus will take Google and the travel industry.
In other travel news from the conference call, Google CFO Patrick Pichette said in the U.K. the travel vertical "did kind of OK."
"So I think that there are signs of increasing consumer confidence and you think of Q3, Q4, the travel vertical or the retail vertical, they did kind of OK," Pichette said. "So it's not like the U.K. is in a nose dive. The U.K. is holding its own is the best way to portray it."
Google got 13 percent of its total revenue from the U.K. in the third quarter, and gets a little more than half of its revenue from outside the U.S.
For the third quarter, in which Google recorded a tidy profit of $1.64 billion, cost per click decreased 6 percent compared with the third quarter of 2008, but it is trending upward sequentially. In other words, cost per click rose 5 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter in 2009.