There was a time when being on a trip meant carrying a bulky guidebook around as you traveled. Guidebooks were great, but the had a tendency to quickly go out of date – the world moves quickly, and prices and recommendations can change. They were also one size fits all – everyone basically had the same version, no matter what their traveling styles.
Now Google already has a wealth of information at its disposal – both about destinations and, thanks to your Google account history, your preferences. It has come out with a new app, called Google Trips, that’ll help you organize and plan your travel. And it understands that internet access might be a problem when you’re exploring the forests of the Amazon or the deserts of the Sahara, so it’s designed to work offline.
Google Trips is free, and already available on Android and iOS. It serves as a trip planner and travel guide. It tries to cover the entire travel experience, from organizing your plane tickets and hotel reservations, to providing your editorial recommendations to more than 200 cities. The offline feature allows you to download maps and walking directions to your phone before you leave, so that you don’t have to search for Wifi or buy an international plan when you’re on the move.
Trips requires you to sign on with a Google account, and if you have your flights tickets in your inbox, it automatically detects a trip and starts your planning from there. Once you’re at a location, it gives you suggestions of things you can do. Trips will pull in real-time information about which destinations are open or closed. It will also make adjustments based on time of day and weather — if it starts raining, for example, the app will recommend indoor activities.
Now Google isn’t the first company to try to organize your travel trips. Traditional guidebook publishers such as Lonely Planet have their own (paid) apps that are designed to do the same thing, and apps like Maps.me give you free offline maps in every country in the world. But Google’s knowledge of your preferences could give it an edge over its competitors. Google knows whether you’re a 25 year old male interested in the outdoors, or a 50 year old retiree who’d appreciate art and culture. Tailoring the app to preferences could give it an edge over its competitors. And best of all, it’s free – would be certainly worth a test on your next trip.