Are you planning a vacation? Why don’t you let Google help you with that? With a new feature released today, you can look up destinations, check for flight and hotels prices, without having to leave its mobile search engine.
Certain searches – like “hiking in New Zealand” or “Florida surfing” – have been set to trigger “Google Destinations,” a section that can also be found when users search for a particular destination, country, state, or city.
But more than just offering convenience, ‘Destinations’ wants to spur discovery, too.
The service includes activity suggestions for an initial batch of 201 cities worldwide, which means you can access curated itineraries. So, if you set your heart to visit a new city but aren’t really sure what you can do there, Google hopes to help you make a plan and book that ticket.
As far as bookings are concerned, Google Destinations does indeed send users to airline websites to make their purchases, but there are some nifty features in-between.
More than just estimating the cost of a flight and hotel reservation, the feature helps users find the travel dates that have the lowest prices; it can also display expenses for a particular time of the year. Tapping the ‘Explore’ tab will give users a snapshot of the weather at the chosen destination, which is important to know when planning a trip.
Only the U.S. and a handful of other countries can access Google Destinations for now. It remains to be seen if the service will nudge people into paying for more tickets spontaneously via their phone, but it’s not that hard to believe they will.
With Google’s Street View, you can easily lose yourself in the globetrotting experience, so Google made it that much easier to act on your travel urges.
So far, the service can help you only if you’re on your mobile phone, a move explained by the fact that travel-related questions on mobile devices spiked with 50 percent last year, according to Google.
This might seem like an oddity, given that most people might be used to plan their vacations on desktop. In the future, Google Destinations could expand to desktop, but that’s less likely to happen.
The tech giant reported that half of Google Flights searches happened on mobile over the last year, as well as 60 percent of searches for “destination information.” With such figures growing, it does make sense that Google would prioritize your phone.
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