Google in a way owns most of the internet, or let’s say holds the key to how the world accesses the world wide web. Over the past year or so it has also started harbouring strong ambitions to possess some of the content too. So when you search for athletes during sports events or symptoms of a disease during an outbreak, the first thing you see will be curations from Google.
The search giant has been doing that on apps too with Google Now, which adds huge value to the user. It is now forking some of these as separate apps and has just announced Google Trips.
So what is Google Trips? It is a one-stop-shop that lets you plan, organise and manage your trips. If you use Google Now, it already does most of these and intelligently too, often just based on a ticket that has been sent to your mail. The Trips app is the same, but more ambitious.
This is how it works. On the app you can start looking for a destination and create a trip by assigning dates. Once this is done, and let’s say you have booked a ticket and hotel room, the reservations tab will get populated automatically based on the mails you have received. You can then use the Things To Do tab to plan what you will do during the trip and the app will throw up suggestions of the best places at your destination.
This is where it gets interesting. A location that you like here is saved to a ‘saved placed’ folder and is available offline along with maps, phones numbers and reviews. As most travel junkies will approve, having anything offline while on a trip, especially overseas, is a big advantage. The app also shows you pre-laid plans and the best ways to get around, again all offline. There is another tab for food and dining, as well as a very useful ‘Need to know’ tab that gives you emergency numbers and other recommendations for the specific location.
However, the effectiveness of the app will depend on the location. While I got great recommendations for Singapore with all the tabs showing very relevant data, the results were not all that good when I searched for my hometown Kozhikode, again a popular tourist destination in Kerala. Since most of the content is user generated, if you planning to off the beaten track, then the app will have limited information to show and you will be back on Google searching for the same. Anyway, that is a win-win for Google, right?