Yesterday Google released a new app called Google Trips. The intention behind it is to be the only app that you need with you on vacation, with offline access to all your important information for your trip including tickets and recommendations. It works for any destination, but if you happen to be traveling to one of the 200 featured cities you can then access a number of additional options. On the front page for your trip to a major city you get additional tiles called ‘Day plans’, ‘Getting around’ and ‘Need to know’. ‘Getting Around’ provides key transport information for that city, including traveling from an airport, public transport, driving and walking and biking tips. ‘Need to know’ provides other basic information for that country such as currency and health information, just like you might find in a regular travel guide book. ‘Day plans’ though gets a lot smarter and sees Google using its vast data resources to suggest various itineraries for that city.
When you’re online and planning the trip, the app can access review data to know which places are rated the highest and also which are visited most by Google Maps users, and where they went to next. You don’t just have to stick with the initial suggestions either. You can select whether you want the itinerary to be for a full day or just a morning or afternoon. You can choose which location you want as a starting location, fix any of the suggested locations then ask the app to come up with some more ideas. You can also select a specific day of the week so that the app can take into account opening hours and travel restrictions.
Once you’re happy with the suggestions, you can save the itinerary within your trip. In addition to using available data in planning an itinerary, the app also using algorithms to ensure that you don’t repeat any of the same routes. Called a Eulerian Tour or Eulerian Path, it’s a mathematical technique of finding an optimum route without repetition. So you should never find yourself hiking along the same road that you’ve seen already that day. Although not included in the current functionality, Google could also start to tailor the recommended itineraries based on its knowledge of your own preferences, reviews and travel habits. Hopefully the list of featured cities and towns will expand over time but the existing selection already covers a wide range of destinations.