A few travel experts are themselves completing a trip this morning. Google’s managed to get the folks behind Ruba – a travel site – to join its organization, and they’re all going to the Googleplex.
Ruba is 15 months old, and prior to this arrangement, was backed by Benchmark Capital (which has also invested in eBay, Twitter, and Yelp) and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (of Baidu, Hotmail, Skype, and Tesla Motors fame). That speaks to some pretty interesting things taking place.
A post on the official Ruba Travel Blog hinted at a travel experience with heavy social underpinnings. It explained, "[W]e’ve worked to create a unique and fun visual travel site and community focused on guides, photos, maps, and interactive tour listings to improve the online travel research experience."
And "we," by the way," refers to at least Mike Cassidy and Arnaud Weber, Ruba’s cofounders. Cassidy’s previously sold business to Ask, Viacom/MTV, and a company called Artisoft. Weber actually last worked as a technical lead on Google Chrome.
Unfortunately, one unknown detail is how much money changed hands. Still, the last travel-related purchase Google was rumored to be considering might have cost it $1 billion, and it’s a sure thing this arrangement involved a lot less cash, anyway.