Google rolls out AI tools to personalise travel experiences

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Although it might sound a little eerie, there are few people who probably know you better than Google. Although platforms like Booking, Trip.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor have already rolled out AI-powered tools for creating personalised itineraries, Google has the advantage of using what it already knows about your preferences to customise your travel search even more.

1. Plan me a trip

For the ultimate hands-off travel planning, select users can now simply type into Google search “plan me a trip” and a detailed customised itinerary will be presented to them, including flight options and hotels. The feature is part of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), which is currently available on a trial basis to people in so-called Search Lab locations across the US.

For example, you ask something like “plan me a 3 day trip to Philadelphia that’s all about history” and you’ll get a set of suggestions that includes attractions and restaurants, plus an overview of your flight and hotel options. These itineraries will bring together a range of ideas from sites across the web, as well as information like reviews, photos and other Business Profile details that people have submitted to Google for more than 200 million places around the world.

“With all of these links and resources organized in one place, it’s easy to dig deeper and learn more about your destination or compare different options”, Google Director of Product Management Search, Emmanuel Marot, wrote in a blog post. “And when you’re ready, you can quickly export your trip ideas to Gmail, Docs or Maps to keep tweaking or share with your travel companions.”

2. Google Maps lists

Starting in select cities in the US and Canada, if you search for a city in Maps, you’ll now see lists of recommendations for places to go from both publishers, like The Infatuation, and members of the Maps community. The platform is also introducing trending, top and hidden gem restaurant lists created by Google Maps, based on what people are interested in or loving in that city.

Google is also tweaking the exiting option of creating lists on Maps. When you create a list of places, you’ll be able to choose the order they appear. So you can organise them by top favourites or chronologically like an itinerary, tailoring your list based on whatever you need. You’ll also be able to link to content from your social channels, like your review a restaurant, for more context on why you saved that spot to your list.

Both of these updates are coming to Google Maps on Android and iOS globally by the end of March.

3. Swipe through apparel

Google is introducing a personalised style recommendations tool that is aimed at helping users easily discover more products they like. When you search for apparel or accessories in the US on mobile browsers or in the Google app, like “men’s polo shirts”, you’ll now see a section labelled “style recommendations.” You can quickly rate options with a thumbs up or down, or a swipe left or right, and get instant results with items that the AI deems in the same style. Your preferences are remembered if you want to finish your shopping spree later.

4. Lens instant help

Live translation has got even easier with Google Lens, which can now directly translate your screen or what you see in front of you, without needing to copy-paste the text in the Translate app, through the Circle to Search tool. Circle to Search is currently accessible on Pixel 7+ devices and the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, in all languages and locations where they’re available and will be rolling out to more devices over the following weeks

Simply long press the home button or navigation bar and tap the translate icon. Meanwhile, if you need to translate something around you, like a street sign or poster, just tap the Lens icon in the Google app and select the translate filter. Lens will automatically detect the source language and blend the translated text over the original.

Lens is also great for exploring the world around you, especially with the latest AI-powered upgrades to multi-search. Just point your camera, ask a question about what you see and you’ll get helpful insights in an AI overview. Perhaps you’re at a museum and want to know more about a certain work of art. You can snap a photo, ask “why did the artist paint this?” and get a quick overview with the information you need, along with links to dive deeper. AI overviews on multi-search results are currently available in English in the US for everyone, no enrolment in Search Labs required.

While I doubt I will be asking Google any time soon to plan my next trip, as an avid Pixel phone user, I have been using both translation tools, as well as the Lens (not multi yet) search for a while now and I can genuinely say they have made my life much easier.

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