As the weather warms up, people will naturally begin planning their next vacation. Google, in response, is adding four new features across several platforms on smartphones in an effort to help users find good travel deals and build an itinerary.
Arguably the most impactful addition, Google Flights (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab) is getting a new price guarantee badge to indicate the current price of a ticket is the lowest it will be for that day. That price point will be monitored “every day until departure, and if it does go down,” Google states it will pay you back the difference via Google Pay. The badge is part of a new pilot program so its reach will be limited. It’ll only show information on flights departing from the United States.
Google Search, on the other hand, is getting a new Stories-like feature for hotel listings where you can swipe through a series of images to give you an idea of what to expect. User reviews and the location’s website will be present on-screen for more information alongside a booking button. The third Search feature adds prices for local tourist attractions and tour companies with an accompanying booking link. Famous locations in particular will have suggestions underneath the listing “for related experiences”, almost like a mini “city-wide tour”.
And finally, Google Maps (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab) will be getting a Recents tab for desktop displaying recently searched locales on the left-hand menu. You can then place everything in a new list to be saved for the future or to be shared with friends. Recents will be available “globally starting next week” with no word on a mobile version yet. That same Maps post does mention other notable travel tools, but it’s all stuff we’ve seen before like Immersive View and the AR-based Live View.
The Google Search update is currently rolling out to mobile with some already online. We were able to try out the hotel Stories slideshow, but neither the flight guarantee badge nor tourist attraction prices were available at the time of this writing. Additionally, we asked Google if the company has plans to expand its badge pilot program to other countries and flights arriving in the US. This story will be updated at a later time if we hear back.
Before you go on vacation, there are a couple of other tools we recommend you become familiar with. Google recently launched extreme heat alerts to Search (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab) to let people know of upcoming heat waves and what to do to stay cool. There’s also the tracking tool on Maps allowing users to share their location with friends in case they get lost.
You can learn more about this tracking feature and more by checking out TechRadar’s list of the 10 things you didn’t know Google Maps could do.