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More News on the Google Travel Front?

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on June 05, 2008

I’m going to virtual Disney World!

No, I’m not talking about Disney World in Second Life… though it wouldn’t surprise me if such a thing existed. I’m referring to the new 3D Disney World Experience offered in Google Earth, launched June 5.

Virtual visitors can basically tour the whole Disney theme park in Google Earth, even going so far as seeing inside rides. The site is part of a big online advertising push by Disney to draw real vacationers to the real destination.

It seems to me that this is just the kind of thing that Google could develop for its long-rumored travel offering. Imagine taking a 3D Google Earth tour of a sponsored destination such as Paris’ Le Marais district, all the while, seeing ads for hotels in that area, restaurants, and the like. Such a site would have lots of appeal for travel enthusiasts and a ton more appeal for marketers and tourism boards.

The drawback is that developing such an experience takes a while. It took about a year for the Disney project to be completed.

Still, I think 3D Disney gives us a view into the kind of experience Google could and, likely, will offer by mashing up its travel marketing division with maps, search and other Google services.

The project also gives us a window into the evolution of Google’s advertising products. This is a clear branded advertising play with a direct marketing component: way more advanced than a text ad on a Google search. I’m interested to see whether Google can scale this kind of thing.

Also, given the price of airline tickets and gas, I’m also simply interested in whether it’s possible to “travel” from my computer chair.

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Reader Comments


June 6, 2008 12:34 PM

This is AWESOME!!! My son and I played with this last night - it's great! we got to see where we will be visiting in a few weeks!! Like my son would say "Google is the best!"

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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