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Google takes on Priceline & Expedia as it expands its travel offerings

Daily Ticker

Google (GOOG) is moving deeper into the travel business. No longer will the tech giant be the site where travelers just search for deals -- it also wants to be the place where they can plan their trips.

It's aggressively promoting "hotel price ads" that anyone can click on to find the "best" deals and expanding ties with big hotel groups like Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HTL). Google already reviews hotels and restaurants via Zagat, which it acquired more than two years. It has now sealed a licensing deal with hotel booking software startup Room 77 to help its travel booking efforts.

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"You won't have to go from Google to Priceline or Trip Advisor" anymore to book travel plans, says The Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget.

Travel is big business. Priceline (PCLN) and Expedia (EXPE) together pay Google a combined $2.5 billion every year to advertise on Google; they account for about 5% of Google's ad sales.

Related: Google slashes storage prices: Good for consumers, bad for the competition?

Will Google's travel ambitions risk its relationships with advertisers? Only time will tell.

"We'll see if Google can play nice with advertisers and would-be competitors or if it becomes like Microsoft (MSFT) and tries to muscle in on other people's business," says The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task.

Related: How to escape the dragnet of Google, Facebook and America's surveillance economy

Watch the video above for more on Google's travel offerings and tell us what you think about them in the comments section below.

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