Independent travellers have good reason to cheer. Tech giant Google has finally rolled out a mobile travel app they have been working on all this while — Google Trips. When I first opened the app, it pulled up a roll call of trips I had taken over the past few years. From the Maldives in 2013 to London, which I had just returned from last week, Google knew exactly which flights brought me there, the hotels I had stayed at, and even the cars I rented along the way. This information, parked under the app's Reservations tab, had been culled from my Gmail inbox. For an app that claims to save 'all your travel info in one place', it does that with striking accuracy and an omnipresence that is quite frankly, a little creepy.
Besides aggregating your travel paperwork, the iOS and Android app rides on a combination of data from Googe Maps and crowdsourced contributions to recommend places of interest and dining spots. Themed itineraries ranging from 'Literary London' to 'Posh Shops' make it easy for you to dive straight into your areas of interest, but as with crowdsourced intelligence, some of these recommendations turned out to be quite vanilla. If you're looking for truly local insights, you might find yourself disappointed for now.
The app also makes it easy for you to get an overview of how to navigate a city. From transportation options upon arrival (estimated cab fares included) to bike rentals for those who prefer to see the city on two wheels, the app's comprehensive trove of information takes the pressure off navigating in a foreign land.
What's most impressive about Google Trips is the 'Day plans' function, which automatically generates itineraries you can explore in a single day. You can refine an itinerary by defining the time frame, be it a single afternoon or specific day of the week. Not keen to explore a particular sight? Simply add or remove it from the list. If you're staying in a city for more than a day, the app pulls in more sights and spaces them out over a couple of days. Riding on Google Maps' smart algorithms, Google Trips is able to craft itineraries that ensure you don't traverse the same pathways twice over. The best part? All this can be done offline if you've downloaded the data for a given city in the app.
Google Trips is available for iOS and Android.