Google’s ‘Touring Bird’ can make it a whole lot easier to plan a trip

Creating an itinerary for an upcoming trip isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. Google Search can help you surface ideas via local tourism websites and other offerings like Trip Advisor, but the experience can often end up feeling more like a chore than a pleasure.

To help smooth out the process of planning a vacation, Google has come up with a new travel tool called Touring Bird.

Emerging from the company’s Area 120 lab where Googlers are encouraged to develop their own product ideas, web-based Touring Bird has already done the searching for you, and in its own words “helps travelers explore, compare, and book tours, tickets, and activities from multiple providers in top destinations around the world — all in a single place.”

At the current time, 20 locations are listed, including Boston, Chicago, and New York, as well as cities farther afield such as London, Paris, and New Delhi — more are on the way. Around 400 local contributors have added information for 25,000 activities, together with some 2,000 personal tips on how to get the most from your visit.

Touring Bird offers lots of helpful information in sections like “top sights” and “tours and activities.” Also, check out the section for free tours offered by local guides, and another for the best way to explore a city according to your interests. These include iconic sites in each city, ideas for getting off the beaten path, places for history buffs, and suggestions for a range of food and drink experiences.

A notable feature that makes Touring Bird a lot more effective than a simple web search is the built-in filter, which lets you sort information by price (free options also listed), cancelation policy, how much time the experience needs, and the time of day when it’s available.

Touring Bird is the latest effort by Google to smooth out the trip-planning process for travelers. Besides ongoing moves to bake more travel services into mobile search, the web giant has also rolled out Google Destinations and Google Trips. And, of course, there’s the ever-useful Maps, Earth, and Street View tools that allow for even greater planning.

Speaking to Travel + Leisure about its latest travel-based offering, Lax Poojary, who leads the Touring Bird team, said: “A leisure trip to a destination is usually between three to eight days. People want to do top activities and attractions in the first few days, but then they want to do more immersive things — we wanted to build a one-stop shop.”

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