Google is introducing a revamped flight and hotel travel search experience. To date both products have been mostly underwhelming. The big promises of Google’s ITA acquisition have yet to bear fruit but that may change with the new Google Flight and travel search experience.
Previously the best feature of Google Travel was Flight Explorer (immediately above), which allowed users to see pricing trends over time for desired destinations. It still exists but its features have been partly integrated into the new/main Flight Search site.
The new more integrated travel experience, which offers a variety of ways into travel planning is easier and more pleasing to use. It’s simpler, cleaner and more visually rich. It also appears there are personalized recommendations (based on search behavior).
Travel planners can search, filter and sort in ways that are familiar to power users of sites such as Kayak. However Google also enables travel searching and planning using full-screen maps, which is probably the major differentiator of the product.
Google has also done a nice job optimizing the Flight/Travel Search experience for mobile web. I suspect we’ll see an app at some point, which would probably boost both awareness and usage of these tools. Indeed if Google is really serious about mobile usage it will build an app.