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Trip planning: Love it or hate it, it’s a requisite part of the prep work that goes into every successful vacation. Lucky for folks who’d rather not while away the hours Googling sights to see and day trips to take, there’s Touring Bird, a new web app from Google’s internal incubator Area 120 that collates attractions, tours, and more in top destinations around the globe.
Touring Bird takes a curatorial approach to vacation planning, but with a few filters and tweakable settings thrown in for good measure. It surfaces popular attractions — about 25,000, team lead Lax Poojary told Travel and Leisure in an interview — in 20 destinations, sourcing from travel sites, locals, and travel experts. The results can be filtered by type (e.g., walking tours, classes, or social dining) or price point, depending on your focus.
Once you’ve drilled down into a category, Touring Bird has you specify which attractions you’d like to visit, the time of day during which you’d like to visit them, and other personal preferences, such as whether you’d like an audio guide or live guide. Taking that information into account, it surfaces relevant tips and tour packages from Expedia, Viator, GetYourGuide, and other travel providers; it displays prices, cancellation policies, ratings, and a booking link for each. A built-in bookmarking and sharing tool lets you save favorites to a list.
“Traveling to new places is fun and exciting — but for a lot of people, planning what to do once you’re there is not. It often involves hours of research, reading dozens of travel guides and blogs across the web, sifting through reviews, compiling your own lists, comparing prices and offerings, and asking friends and family for recommendations,” the Touring Bird team wrote. “There has been a lot of progress in the travel industry to make the flight and accommodations booking process much better, but there is still a big user need for great tools that aggregate tours and activities across providers.”
Touring Bird is available for Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, New Delhi, New York City, Orlando, Paris, Prague, Rome, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.
In the two years since Area 120‘s launch in April 2016, the incubator, which evolved out of the search giant’s policy to encourage employees to devote 20 percent of their time to personal projects, has debuted experimental advertising platforms, a social YouTube experience, a voice-based messenger, and more. Teams within Google submit business plans and apply to join Area 120, after which they get to work on their idea full time and have the opportunity to pitch Google for funding.
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