Google is now refining its search and data aggregation platforms to make two of the most time-consuming use cases for search — shopping and travel — less challenging and more useful across all platforms.
The first of the new features is a comprehensive trip planning tool for desktop users built on top of mobile-centric improvements made last year and available now. Namely, those were tools that starting pooling a user's flights, hotel reservations, and other related packages pulled from Gmail and Google Searches into a timeline, reducing the challenge of keeping track of those things across multiple pages.
With the new tool, users can visit the URL "google.com/travel" or perform a search for a location or those above-listed details in a given area to be presented with a pool of information under a single trip-related hub. Each of the related items has its own page under a tab nested on the right-hand side of the page. Once a user's begun exploring a given area, features, landmarks, and other personalized recommendations will be displayed and users can edit the timeline of their travel plans as well as viewing past trips.
Personalized "potential trips" are displayed based on previous searches and travel in addition to other details but, at its heart, the new tool enables more granular management of trips, giving users the ability to manually make adjustments or add new itinerary items.
That can also be accomplished on mobile as well as tying directly into the For You features in Google Maps, allowing the personalization and recommendations to continue from anywhere — even in the middle of a trip. From mobile, weather and other pertinent information are shown too, ensuring everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Making shopping more personal
Shopping-related features are getting a makeover too, starting with the creation of a newly revamped personalized UI and underlying changes found under the shopping tab on Google and elsewhere. The interface on Google shopping appears to be based on Material Design 2.0 and allows users to quickly filter out products they might want to buy based on preferences for brands and features.
That's integrated seamlessly with Google Express and partners to enable a shopping cart to be added to the interface on top of that. So users don't need to leave Google to complete their purchases in every case via Google Shopping, Google.com, or Google Assistant either.
The change also means that shoppers will gain the same protections they see already when shopping through Google Express. If they get an item they didn't want or their order arrives late — or if they're just having difficulty getting the refund or customer service they're looking for — Google Shopping will facilitate the process.
Later on, the company plans to bring those shopping tools to other services it offers such as YouTube and Google Images.
Coinciding with those changes, Google is testing adjustments to its ad platform to make it easier for buyers to complete their purchases online and then pick up their items at a brick-and-mortar store. On the seller side of the equation, it's accomplishing that by making it easier for merchants to let Google know items are either in-store or can quickly be shipped to a store for local pickup after the purchase.
Building on earlier updates to the user-facing side of things, shoppers will be able to see when a product is available for purchase and then immediate or scheduled pickup directly in their search results.
You can opt out
The majority of the changes listed here are rolling out now but users who are more concerned about privacy and data collection don't necessarily need to take part if they don't want to. That doesn't require an incognito window or logging out either. Instead, Google is incorporating controls into those that already exist under their account settings.
To opt out, the search giant indicates that users simply need to visit their account settings and adjust their personalized results under the 'Web & App Activity' settings.