Touring Bird has flown the coop from Google’s Area 120 internal incubator to the search giant’s core travel group, the company announced today.
As part of Google, the Touring Bird team “will continue building compelling experiences for travelers and connecting them to tour and activity providers in destinations around the world,” the company says.
It is not confirmed if the product will migrate to Google’s primary travel portal, Google.com/travel (which replaced Google's Trips app, which shuttered in June), but TouringBird.com will shut down on November 17 and users of the site will be notified via a banner on the page beginning today.
Ever since the platform, which functions as a metasearch-like tours and activities discovery and price comparison tool, first emerged in stealth mode in April 2018, speculation has mounted as to if and when Touring Bird would join Google proper.
In September of last year, Touring Bird general manager Lax Poojary told PhocusWire the focus was on expanding the product’s reach and improving the user experience - not on joining Google’s Trips app.
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Following a successful test run in Paris in 2018, Touring Bird launched with 25,000 experiences in 20 markets and has grown to 75,000 experiences in 200 markets as of April of this year.
It was built inside Google’s Area 120, an experimental incubator in which Google employees test products with dedicated resources and support.
As for Touring Bird’s plans now that it’s officially part of Google’s travel portfolio, a Google spokesperson declined to give specifics but said: “We see an opportunity for us to not only improve the research and booking experience for users with tours and activities, but also to better connect users and partners on a larger scale.”
Elsewhere in tours and activities, Google has been adding vendors to Reserve with Google, which enables suppliers to connect with customers and allow them to book and pay for experiences.
In April, Berlin-based Bookingkit joined as a partner alongside existing Reserve with Google partners Peek, Checkfront and Tiqets.
In May, Poojary caught up with PhocusWire editor in chief Kevin May at Phocuswright Europe in Amsterdam to discuss Touring Bird's first 12 years in business. Watch the full interview below.
PhocusWire @ Phocuswright Europe 2019 - Under The Hood With Touring Bird
Google at The Phocuswright Conference
Hear from Oliver Heckmann, Google vice president of engineering, in a Tech Talk at the event in November.
*Correction: This story has updated the spelling for Tiqets.