Google’s search engine is useful for a lot of things; from self-diagnosing rare medical conditions by Googling symptoms, to finding out the nutritional information of nearly any food product.
But now the search engine is taking on the role of travel agent with a new feature called “Destinations.”
The feature, announced Tuesday, allows users to type in a potential travel destination and instantly access information about top tourist spots, view potential itineraries and even compare flight prices.
Here’s how it works:
On your smartphone, go to Google.ca and type in the name of a destination plus the word “Destinations” or “Vacation.”
Once you’ve typed in a destination you will be able to see an excerpt about the history and description of the country or city you are interested in, a selection of suggested itineraries, top sightseeing destinations and information about the climate and what times of year to visit.
When you have selected a destination you can then tap “Plan a Trip” to see an estimated trip price for airfare and hotel combined over the next six months.
You can also select a customized date range for your trip to see what prices might be like.
“The “Flexible Dates” filter lets you refine your results by month, so you can see when fares and rates are lowest within the time range you want, across multiple destinations,” reads Google’s explanation of the feature.
But there’s one catch – Destinations is only available when using Google on an iOS and Android smartphone. You can’t access the same type of information on a desktop computer.
According to Google’s announcement, the feature is in response to a large increase in user queries regarding trip planning using mobile devices.
“Last year, according to our internal data for google.com, we saw a whopping 50 per cent increase in travel-related questions on mobile phones. But even as that number grows, it can be hard to get all the right information in one place on a small screen,” read the blog.
While the tool might be useful to those who do everything on their smartphone, it presents a bit of a nuisance for those who wish to see the information on a bigger screen, or book their stay using a computer.
© 2016 Shaw Media