Does Google want to own the online travel-booking market? There is contrasting evidence. The internet giant has been increasing its presence in the area in recent years. First it launched Flight Search, a meta-search website that pits it against the two big flight-comparison brands, Skyscanner and Kayak. But there is a good reason why it might choose to hold back. Online travel agencies will spend $4.15 billion on digital advertising this year in America alone, according to a report by eMarketer. Over half of this is accounted for by just two firms, Expedia and Priceline, which owns Booking.com. Between them this will represent close to 5% of Google’s total advertising revenue in 2014. The online travel agents, for the moment at least, seem convinced that Google will not want to cannibalise such a big chunk of its revenue by directly selling hotel and flight inventory. Even aside from upsetting its biggest advertisers, brands such as as hotels.com put a lot of feet on the ground, negotiating deals with individual hotels, including thousands of independents. This is a game Google is unlikely to want to get into. Get the full story at the Economist blog