Google today launched a new search feature designed to help you plan your next vacation. But there’s a catch: Destinations on Google only works on mobile devices.
This is by design. Google found that in 2015, the company’s search engine saw a 50 percent increase in travel-related questions on mobile phones. And so it set out to solve the problem of how to answer the various vacation questions (Where? When? How much?) on a small screen.
Here is how it works. Google a continent, country, or state on your phone and append the word “destination.” You’ll get back a slew of information.
The Explore tab shows you year-round weather expectations and when your destination is most popular, based on historic visits from other travelers.
You can drill down further by searching for specific activities. In addition to the location, add words like “surfing,” “hiking,” or “skiing” to get back suggestions related to your hobbies and interests.
There’s also a Flexible Dates filter that lets you refine your results by month across multiple destinations. This is great if you’re looking for the best fares and rates or if you have constraints for when you can get time off. The blue arrow icon will let you browse the most-frequently traveled itineraries and makes suggestions based on other travelers’ visits to those places.
Once you’ve selected a destination, tap “Plan a trip” to see rates for hotels and flights. Google Search will show you the highs and lows for the next six months, “pulling from the trillions of flight itineraries and hotels we price every day on Google Flights and Hotel search.” Tap the pencil icon to customize results further with flight and hotel preferences, including number of stops, hotel class, and number of travelers.
We’re guessing Google just gave the travel industry a huge boost.