Google launched a new service today called Destinations on Google that allows users to discover and plan their vacations from Google Search, right on their mobile devices. No new website involved, no computer necessary.
For example, if you’ve been dying to go on that European vacation this summer, type into Google Search “Europe Destination” and up pops an easy-to-browse collection of cities to visit. The instant grid of options will show top cities around Europe, as well as the best time to go, flight prices, and hotel options. Each city is easily comparable to the next without clicking between screens.
The idea is to streamline the planning process using Google’s depth of data. Travelers don’t need to cross reference their Fodor’s and Lonely Planet guides to develop the best itinerary. Google provides a mix of editorially created and algorithmically generated guides to present the top ways to maximize your time in any of the 201 cities currently available on Destinations on Google.
“The suggested itineraries are based on historic visits by other travelers to those places, so you can use the wisdom of the crowd and save time researching,” wrote Radhika Malpani, engineering director for Google Travel, in a post announcing the new service.
Google also built in its Google Flights and Hotel search functionality, so that a future traveler can go straight from deciding on a destination to booking the best real time fares and hotel rates.
Users can also tailor their vacation search to more targeted desires, like “Spain hiking” or “Greece beaches” to get suggested spots that fit with a user’s hobbies and interests. There’s also a flexible dates option for those who want to find the lowest fares and rates within a given time range across multiple destinations.
Right now the service is exclusively on mobile, so you won’t be able to access this from your desktop or laptop computer, at least for now. Google (GOOG) has seen a 50% increase in travel-related questions on mobile phones and wanted to create a service to specifically solve that need.