What are Vertical/Specialized Search?
Those of you who haven't recently searched on Google for Hotels or tickets, may not be knowing, what this vertical search is. Google, has a while back launched services similar to many booking engines already available for such type of services.
These Booking engines, are already big clients of google, regularly availing adwords platform, for driving traffic on their portal. Some of them are not happy over this move by Google and have threatened lawsuit. Google, to mitigate the aftermath has listed some of these service providers, with great degree of prominence, prompting users to book their tickets through their site.
You should google on some such terms, like - Hotels in delhi- to know in depth, How it looks like!
Is the threat Real?
Is Google really trying to kill such booking engines, or, is it trying to play a longer game, which though now looks like a friendly approach towards, these Booking Services, might be a long term plan to eliminate them.
So, the fear is real, and maybe Google won't need them in future.
Value Addition or Just another Google' UI Experiment?
Google's SERP for these searches has been spammy for a long time. Google has inserted, map, local listing and a lot of nonsense, into SERP, for these terms.
Who doesn't know, what kind of crap Google's local listings are!
It is full of spams, with self written testimonials by businesses. Many businesses listed there often use others' brand names for stealing their queries. In a nutshell, it is not something which deserves such a high position in search result. It is bad for Good Businesses who lose customers to bad ones because of these listings, and also, for consumers who get cheated because of these fake listings, reviews and ratings which features with a lot of prominence in SERP. In the long run, they are harmful for Google too.
It is around Trust, not the Artificial Buzz
The listings which are really beneficial for users is not a very easy task to achieve. It is not the rave or rant of any xyz, that should feature with such a prominence, but, it is rather how much genuine they sound. So, actually it is not into How big the buzz around something is, rather how much real people are behind that buzz, that is important, which Google does not tell you. But, that is the greatest requirement of our time!
So, the future doesn't belong to the one, who features with prominence there.
The Future belongs to those who can prove, the testimonials, they are showing, no matter if they are fewer, are by the real people, whose only intention was to avail their services.
People are already exposed to a lot of social networks and they know, what are the comments they should trust and what they should ignore or suspect.
Coming back to Google's Specialized Search and similar online directories, If you can't help users take decisions, for which they will feel obliged to thank you, then you don't deserve to be where you are. Same goes with Google, if people start hating you after following your suggestions, then certainly, you will too lose their attention.