loves to organize information. It’s the company’s mission statement, after all, there’s no common life task that generates more details than planning a trip.
Flight itineraries, hotel reservations, car rentals, tour bookings, you name it. There’s a reason that sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation.
Organizing all of this madness is pretty well done by apps like Tripit, in some respect, by Now. But has shown it wants to move beyond just saving your bookings into a neat package, as helpful as that is. th new tools like a dedicated travel app, enhancements to Inbox, more services for flights hotels, you can now create your entire itinerary get some suggestions about what to do when you get there all through ‘s servers.
I looked more deeply at the options available while planning some upcoming trips for both business pleasure. In essence, you can go for most of what you want to do, though the experience isn’t quite yet thorough enough to completely ignore the other good travel services out there.
at’s your destination?
has a very underrated service for searching flights. Flight Search is similar to other aggregators like Expedia or Travelocity, with the secret sauce being that it will mix match different airline routes travel sites to try find you the best deal. But you can also save flights to your account then check back on them later to see if the price has dropped or risen.
Now will ping you from time to time about this, particularly if there’s a big drop. I used this when booking a flight to Europe this summer, although unfortunately I kept watching the fares rise instead of fall. You also can return to the flight search at anytime see your saved itineraries find out how they’ve fared.
ile there’s no dedicated mobile app, the tools work well in Chrome on Android if you head to flights.google.com. The web app is being tweaked all the time, with dropping in more suggestions for trips what to do when you get there. The company has built up a tremendous amount of data with Maps other services, so there’s even more potential here to make this a top-rate service if were to account for what you like to do by allowing you to create a profile of your preferred activities.
Currently there are suggestions for specific destinations, both near to your home far away. I’m not sure I’d necessarily use this as the sole determiner of where to take a trip, but it’s not a bad place to get some ideas.
Grab a place to stay
dging is the next travel service that is beginning to tackle, but searching for a hotel with right now is a little weird. Instead of a dedicated “ Hotels” site or app, you perform a search right in Chrome or the app, type the parameters, then you’re off to find a place to rest your weary head.
Then there are a lot of different options for specifying what type of lodging you’re looking for, along with the ability to put a star next to a particular hotel in case you want to check back on it later. This is an area where ‘s context-sensitive ads can actually be a benfit; you can sometimes find a good deal on the right hotel from one of them. Depending upon the search, the first result may be a sponsored suggestion with a killer deal.
You have to get specific, however. If you just type “hotel San Francisco” you’ll get a bunch of ads to fill the page for travel apps or websites. It’s best to type in a date so you can see the actual booking tools.
For the time being is the middleman with its hotel service as well, with companies that actually hle the booking able to bump themselves up the search rankings through advertising. I’ve found a lot of good deals this way, it’s a strong motivator to start your hotel search with then book from best offer.
But the hotel search should adopt some of the design functionality of the Flights service. You ought to see your previous searches get more suggestions up front the way you can when looking for where to jet off to.
Keep your itinerary in one place
’ve looked before at the benefits of using Now to keep all your travel in one place. The service keeps getting better, with dedicated cards for your reservation with flights, hotels, other details all wrapped together. As you get closer to your travel date, a dedicated card will appear in your Now stream. If you want to see it anytime, you can do so through a voice comm: “Ok , show me my trips.”
You can also type “my reservations” or “my flights” in order to get these details. You’ll also see concert tickets or other bookings, depending upon if the developers for the booking site have encoded the right details into their email.
One area where this hasn’t really kicked in is cruises. A cruise I took last summer, another planned for this summer, are nowhere to be found in my stream. ether it’s on ’s end or the cruise providers’, this could use some attention.
More is on the way
As referenced earlier, has a new beta travel app rolling out to those who have achieved vel 2 or above in the cal Guides ladder.
Despite my vel 3 achievement, I haven’t been able to score access to the beta (tick tock, ). However, the takeaway is that wants to do a lot more when it comes to planning out future travel, using its knowledge in maps data collected from other services to tie everything together offers a lot of potential.
This app could tie together everything into one cohesive package. Flights, hotels, saved trips work well within their individual services, but everything feels rather siloed. If any company can pull your data together make it all make sense, it’s .
Imagine a travel service that also offers flights hotels based on your preferences – could learn that you like to stay at four-star hotels, avoid red-eye flights, prefer to stay at least two nights somewhere. Think of a personalized guidebook that finds what you like to do, but may also nudge you towards branching out of your comfort zone a little.
The level of personalization that gives to other products would be welcome for travel planning, where there are usually too many choices to sort through. It’s a great package right now, but the quest to build a personal would definitely be welcome here.