Following the release of Google Destinations and the expansion of its Google Flights tool, the globe’s favorite search giant is at it again – with perhaps the only travel word it hasn’t used yet: Google Trips.
According to leaks earlier this year, Google is beta-testing Trips – a “smart assistant” app that will organize all of your travel information in a convenient, easy-to-read manner and deliver customized suggestions based on location, timing, and other plans (categories include Things to do, Food & drink, Need to know, and more).
If an app like this were to be released by a startup or smaller company, the above features might be all Trips could offer. But given the Google pedigree, Trips will (of course) bring more benefits to the table.
The app will comb users’ app Gmail accounts (once they opt in) for travel-related info and automatically load it to the app, but will still let users build their itineraries manually. From there, users can see a full overview of each trip, complete with reservation info and transportation options. In a high-value move for travelers, the app will also be available offline, eliminating any concerns over internet connectivity.
Coverage and reviews of the app have been positive so far, though only members of Google’s Local Guides project (a community-driven outgrowth of Google Maps) have had access to test it. But by even attempting to develop a “mobile travel agent” offering, Google is wading into new waters that may impact other big-name brands like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Priceline.
To date, tools like Destinations and Flights have only provided nominal benefits on top of Google’s existing map- and calendar- related functionalities. According to one source, Trips may represent Google finally consolidating all of the tools the company has developed since it bought travel software company ITA in 2010.
With no release date yet announced, it’s too soon to see for ourselves whether Trips is worth the hype (or to speculate on whether Google will integrate hotels and airline carriers into the Trips ecosystem in any substantive way). But stay tuned: As with all things developed or released by Google, big intentions are always to be expected.