Tech Tuesday :: Google Hotel Finder

google hotel finder + review {Editor’s Note: Today is the last day you can enter our Travalo petite porta-perfume giveaway before noon PST! It takes 20 seconds or less, and all you have to do is comment on any TS post.}

Google's been eyeing travel for a long time, building their backend with both quiet and hotly talked-about acquisitions. Their voyage into travel is no surprise: with a strong hold on anything search-related, combined with the multi-billion dollar web travel space and their purchase of ITA software {the software that powers Kayak, Orbitz, Hawaiian Airlines, etc...}.

Google hotel finder In a move that I think only represents the tip of the iceberg, Google's just launched hotel finder {} is an "experiment." And for all you Google buffs, experiment---meaning "beta mode"---is what the search giant is likely transitioning their high-priority labs products into, given that Google labs is being phased out.

Travel Search Intended to be a travel meta search engine like Kayak or Bing Travel, I don't doubt they will quickly move from hotels, to flights to cars and so on. However, like with any experiment, it's not a done deal. Take Google city tours, a two-year-old city itinerary suggestion tool {presented with a map overlay and directions} within Google labs that never took off, yet is still online. With a touch more finessing, Google city tours could seriously help travelers trying to sort out what to do with 5, 24 or 48 hours in a destination, but sadly, it's pretty dormant right now.

Using Google hotel finder If you use a lot of different Google products, you'll recognize the ability to custom-select a geo area for your hotel {reminiscent of Google Adwords geo ad targeting}. Other helpful features include the ability to shortlist hotels that suit your fancy {eliminating the need to open a bazillion internet windows}, as well as determining the best time to visit with a percentage published beside every listing comparing its current price with its typical one. Like most travel products launched in the US, Google hotel finder works mainly with US cities right now.

The Verdict google hotel finder + maps Google hotel finder shows promise and I encourage you to take 5 mins to try it out and compare and contrast it with your preferred online booking service, but at this point I see the majority of its value as a research versus booking tool. I also appreciate its integration into Google Maps {pictured above} which is very helpful for researching what hotels are available for your dates in a given area {navigate to then type, for example, 'hotels in vancouver' or 'hotels in seattle' to see dates and hotels appear}!

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[images sourced from Google]