Google has been improving its flight and hotel search results over the past few months, adding capabilities and polishing the overall experience. In accordance with that “iterative” approach Google announced today that flight search will now be available on mobile devices (browser only).
To trigger the verticalized results, you need to specify that you want to see flights from location A to location B (US only right now). You then get outbound and return date fields, with lists of airlines and prices. If you click through to “more Google flight search results” there’s a richer presentation with a number of filters to help narrow your choices.
Below are screenshots that illustrate all this for a hypothetical flight from San Francisco to New York:
My initial reaction is mixed. Google has done a relatively good job with the user experience; however there are ways in which the presentation feels cramped and a bit awkward.
Google flight search for mobile is useful in that it can quickly provide users with a sense of prices and flight options “on the go.” It worked especially well with voice input.
For a “first try” it isn’t bad. By comparison the Kayak mobile app is still quite a bit better. Indeed, Google flight search is not a native app.
Yet if Google is truly serious about competing in flight search on mobile devices it will probably need to build one.
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