After shutting down the Trips app and consolidating its flights and hotel booking tools under Google Travel, the company today announced new features to help travelers plan their trip in its entirety.
An update coming to Google Flights will now show travelers guides on popular destinations based on their country and the time of year. You can also specify exact travel dates and destinations to get historical data on flight prices and find the best time to book. Google says it’s so confident in this price prediction that it will offer a refund on select flights if a fare drops after you’ve booked. (It’s not automatic and you still have to file a claim, but it’s a nice deal if you’re planning to get away ahead of the Labor Day holiday.) The offer starts next Tuesday August 13th until September 2nd, and is limited to travelers flying out of the US.
Flights will also begin to show the fare class differences on Alaska and Delta airlines so travelers can differentiate between various economy seats. Google says because so many airlines have their own verbiage on what an economy seat may entail, it’s hoping to standardize the language by showing people what type of ticket they’re getting before they book. The company also says it will continue to work to add other airlines in the future.
Once a flight is booked, Google will also offer guides on where to stay so you can decide which hotel to book. When you have everything together, Google will gather all your itinerary data under Your Places in Google Maps, which you can access from the hamburger menu on the left. For those who need directions when navigating a foreign place, Google is also officially rolling out its AR-based navigation tool called Live View to iOS and Android devices that support ARKit / ARCore. The feature was first announced at Google I/O 2018, and became available in alpha for Pixel phones earlier this winter.
Lastly, a new update to Google Timeline will let you search through your location history by categories, such as food and drink places or clothing shops. Based on these businesses, you can build a list that can be shared as a city guide to other people who might want recommendations with where to go. As part of Google Maps’ Explore tool, you can also make lists public so others can check out your guides.
Think of today’s update like Google just rolled TripIt and Foursquare into the Maps feature. The company wants the app to be an all-in-one place where you go to explore, plan, and share travel destinations with people. The one thing that is missing from the now-defunct Trips app is offline mode; at the moment, you still have to manually elect to download an area of a map if you want access to navigation without an internet connection.