google travel

Google Travel adds flight price notifications and a limited-time flight price guarantee

Posted by | Android, computing, Google, google search, google travel, Google-Maps, machine learning, Pricing, TC, Transportation, United States, world wide web | No Comments

tp animation full no zoom alpha 1Google is building out its travel product with more features to convince you to use it to book flights and plan trips directly, instead of having to go anywhere else. The company is adding more sophisticated pricing features, including historical price comparison for specific itineraries — and notifications about when a price is likely to spike or when it’s at the absolute lowest. It’s also offering a pricing guarantee for bookings made in the next couple of weeks, so you’ll get be refunded the difference if Google says a flight price won’t drop and it subsequently does.

For any flights booked through Google that originate in the U.S. (regardless of destination) between August 13 and September 2, for which Google sends you an alert notifying you that the price is predicted to be at its lowest, the company will alert you if it does drop and then send you a refund on the price difference between what it predicted (i.e. what you paid) and the lowest actual fare.

It’s an attractive deal, and the limited-time offer is probably only even available because this is new and Google wants to make sure people feel absolutely comfortable trusting their predictions. The company likely has the most readily available cross-airline information about flight availability, route popularity and price in the world, however, backed by some of the most sophisticated machine learning on the planet, so it sounds like it’s probably a pretty safe bet for them to make.

Google Travel is also adding a number of features once you actually book you trip — it’ll suggest next steps for planning your trip, and then help you find the best neighborhoods, hotels, restaurants and stuff to do. Plus, reservations and other trip details will automatically carry over to the Google Maps app on your iOS or Android.

Overall, it’s clear that Google is making an aggressive play to own your overall travel and trip planning — and it has the advantage of having more data, better engineering and a whole lot more in the way of design skills when compared to just about every dedicated travel booking company out there.

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Google makes travel planning easier

Posted by | airline, computing, gmail, Google, google china, google travel, Google-Talk, Google.com, Mobile, TC, world wide web | No Comments

Google today announced a major revamp of its travel planning tools on the web. After launching a similar set of tools on mobile last year, the company today announced that google.com/travel on the web will now let you see information about all of your previously reserved trips and easily switch between flight, hotel and package searches.

In many ways, this finally brings all of Google’s travel services under one hood — a process that has taken far longer than I would’ve anticipated after Google bought ITA nine years ago.

Google Trips is essentially the landing page for the new site and brings together your existing bookings and information about your destination. The service will then feed your travel information back into Google Search and Maps. To do this, Google.com/travel (which I think we can safely call Google Travel, even if Google itself doesn’t do so), will use the confirmation emails and receipts from your Gmail inbox to build the timeline of your trip.

Because both the web and mobile versions are now on feature parity, this also makes it easier to pick up your trip planning on any device. Like always, though, you won’t be able to make any reservations through Google’s systems. Instead, Google will send you to an airline’s or hotel’s reservation system to complete a booking.

The actual flight and hotel search engines are still the same, though if Google previously offered the ability to buy flight and hotel packages, it did a good job of hiding that. Now, this option gets first billing, together with the hotel and flight searches.

“Our goal is to simplify trip planning by helping you quickly find the most useful information and pick up where you left off on any device. We’ll continue to make planning and taking trips easier with Google Maps, Google Search and google.com/travel—so you can get out and enjoy the world.”

Sadly, Google hasn’t ported Inbox’s useful Trip Bundles over to Gmail yet, though, despite promises to do so before shutting down Inbox. For the time being, the new Google Travel site is a pretty good alternative.

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