The world’s biggest search engine and online advertising company is now squarely in the trip planner business, and in competition with online travel companies with its latest Google Trips mobile app, updates to the Google Destinations tool and Google Flights, which was launched in 2011.
This haphazard collection of apps might not be the most organized in the world, but together they provide the means for travelers and holidayers to plan their trips, make flight and hotel bookings and lots more. What is most significant, however, is that it keeps Google users well within the ecosystem that Google has built around its core search business.
Travelers are increasingly dependent on their mobile phones to make trip planning a breeze. Most trip planners, like Google’s Destinations, are merely aggregator sites that lead the user to the desired booking portal once they’ve made their selection, but they provide a valuable service that allows users to compare flights, hotel prices and so on.
Google Destinations, for example, redirects its users to Hotels.com to make the actual booking, but with the recent update to the Destinations tool and its recent release to web visitors, users can compare flights and hotels to make their choice, making it an ideal trip planner from their desktops, tablets and smartphones.
Google Trips, on the other hand, is essentially a travel guide that uses crowdsourced information and the power of Google Maps to not only give you a place to track your flight and hotel bookings, but also an app that recommends places to visit, car rental services, restaurant bookings and more.
Right now Google’s trip planner applications seem to be all over the place, and it would be ideal if they merged it into a single app that could do everything. But even with this multi-app platform, Google’s presence is a real threat to online travel agencies, aggregator sites and just about everyone else in the travel and hospitality space.
Google’s move into the travel space with this mosaic of trip planner apps is sort of late, to be honest. Even though they’ve had the Destinations app on mobile for a long time, they’ve only just released it for desktops as a web application. And they’ve had Google Maps for ages, so it’s surprising to see them moving so fast after having sat on their assets for so long.
The good thing is, you now only need your smartphone to keep track of everything when you travel. With the entire environment of apps, including Android Pay, now at your disposal, you can research, plan and pay for your trip and everything else right from your phone. The best move for Google at this point would be to look at integrating the functionality of these multiple apps into one big travel package that could potentially be a huge product for them, but they’ve got most of the elements in place with these apps.
What’s next from Google on its plans to dominate the trip planner industry? We don’t know, but we do know that you’ll be reading about it here as soon as something develops.
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