On Monday Google launched Google Trips, a new mobile application aimed at helping people better plan their vacation and travels. The free app — which is available on Android and iOS — serves as a trip planner and travel guide that is capable of organizing your plane tickets and hotel reservations, offering editorial guides to more than 200 cities, and making personalized recommendations based on someone’s Google history.
Once you log in to Trips using your Google account information, you will see a list of your upcoming and previously completed trips. Tap into a future trip and you will see a colorful variety of options to explore, such as “Saved places,” “Day Plans,” “Food & Drink,” “Getting around,” “Things to do,” “Reservations,” and more. “Reservations” organizes your flights, hotel information, and any rental car reservations you may have made. “Need to Know” has useful information about getting from the airport to the center of the city, the local currency, and what to do in case of an emergency.
However, Trips is not only for collecting information — it can also make suggestions. In the app’s “Things to Do” section, users can build custom itineraries based on how long they will be in town, popular destinations, and anything they have previously starred or saved on a Google service. In addition to having the option to create a customized itinerary, Trips can also show you the most popular day plans and itineraries for the top 200 cities worldwide. This information is based on crowdsourced data from previous travelers, which Google has then assembled into lists that include the most popular sights and attractions.
Perhaps one of the most convenient features about Trips is that it works offline. Users can download everything to their phone before they leave — including maps and walking directions — and avoid the expensive international data charges.
The new Google app will likely become a competitor to TripIt, the travel-planning app from business-expense company Concur. However, Trips is much less geared toward business travel than TripIt and it has the distinct advantage of being able to leverage Google’s wide range of services and editorial content.
According to The Verge, Trips is the culmination of more than two years of work on improving Google’s travel products, said Richard Holden, a vice president of product management at the company, in an interview. In recent months Google introduced Destinations, a travel-planning feature inside mobile search, and revamped its hotel and flight search features.
With the introduction of Trips, Google hopes it will become the default way for travelers to organize trip information ahead of their travels and get around town once they have arrived. “We’re doing a great job on the planning stages, but we really need to help consumers when they’re actually at their destination,” Holden said.