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Last summer, Yahoo launched a mobile travel assistant app called Yahoo Radar as a way to streamline your next vacation. The idea was to not only offer an alternative to Kayak, TripIt, and TripAdvisor, but to do it in a slightly different way, leveraging artificial intelligence and chatbots to do the research for you. Apparently, the product didn’t work as hoped, and Yahoo has killed it off.
“At Yahoo, we are constantly reviewing and revising our product portfolio as we strive to innovate and bring users the best experiences possible…We plan to incorporate our learnings across Yahoo’s products, including Yahoo Mail,” a company spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat. The app was officially discontinued at the beginning of the month.
Specific reasons for the closure weren’t cited, nor were details about what “learnings” were gleaned from Yahoo Radar’s six-month existence. If you have the app still installed, you should just delete it. In fact, when you access the app, a message is displayed informing you of the app’s termination and suggesting that you check out the other mobile apps Yahoo has in the app store. You can’t use the current version of Yahoo Radar, even if you have it.
Billed as a virtual travel guide assistant, the app leveraged AI and machine learning to surface the best restaurants, activities, and attractions for any trip — based on what it had learned from you. Yahoo Radar required a Yahoo email account and, when activated, would scan your inbox to discover any upcoming trips. The details gleaned were all part of an effort to compile a dossier on you and your travel companions.
For a brief period, you could type what you were looking for, such as “family friendly hotels in San Francisco” or “popular places in Seattle for lunch,” in a chatbot-like format similar to what you’d find with a Facebook Messenger bot.
It’s not known how many people used Yahoo Radar, but it could be that a standalone travel app isn’t a good fit for the company’s arsenal of mobile apps. However, it’s possible that Yahoo will utilize the lessons learned from Radar within Yahoo Mail to make it more predictive, especially for bookings, and to target ads in a more relevant manner.
In June, the company told VentureBeat about its ambitious plans to launch an Android version of the Radar app (it was only on iOS devices) and to possibly let you book flights and accommodations and deep-link into third-party apps. All of those things are obviously no longer possible.
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