Brussels - March 13:  Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Nets $6M Cash

Google is expanding its hotel business, with the most notable change being the new 360-degree, high-resolution panoramic photos, which are similar to street view in Google maps.

Best Western is presenting pictures of its 2,200 North American properties, hoping to have all online by the end of the year. According to a recent article by Hotel Management, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is working with Google to post pictures of 100 of its Radisson and Country Inns & Suites hotels across the United States and Canada. Carlson announced that the photos will include views of the lobby, bars, restaurants and guestrooms. Guests are even able to visualize conference and meeting areas as well as the swimming pool.

Moreover, Carlson is testing a feature in Google Maps that allows guests move through a floor plan of the hotel. As of recently, this has only been featured at the company’s Radisson Blu Mall of America in Minnesota.

In addition to this new feature, hotels can also use Google Wallet, an online payment application that stores loyalty program information.

Google has recently chosen to reverse course with Google Wallet. Rather than typing your financial information into your phone and paying with it, now you can actually place Google in your wallet. To avoid any consumer concerns regarding privacy, the Google Wallet Card is available for Google Wallet users, providing them with physical reminder of the trust that has been placed in Google. The Google Wallet Card is essentially a basic debit card that you can use to pay for things using your Google balance.

At the time of this article, Omni Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International are the only hotel companies to embrace Google Wallet. Avis car rentals, Amtrak, Alaska Airlines and Orbitz are others in the travel industry to be offered through Google Wallet.

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