It’s been a while since Google did one of its “experiments” around its Flight Search – but this latest one is quite a departure from what has come before it.
In short: Google Flight Explorer, the new feature seen today for the first time, lets users select a departure airport and a region or city and then serves them ideas for places to go.
Each search result is linked to the usual Flight Search page, but beforehand the user can hover their mouse over a graph to check prices for multiple (US-only, inevitably) carriers to that destination.
Essentially the user can explore multiple destinations in a region, for multiple dates, and multiple lengths of stay for carriers working the routes (including any alliances).
Users can select filters such as number of stops, airline and departure and arrival time, and the results will update on the page without refreshing.
Images of the location are, of course, supplied by Google-owned picture site¬†Panoramio.
An official says:
“Flight Explorer is a an experimental feature of Flight Search that allow users to explore flight destinations. The feature enables users to consider multiple destinations and multiple days at once, all using live prices, quickly.”
Of course, none of this is particularly new in terms of what other sites have been doing for quite a while, not least Google’s flight search rival in the US, Kayak, which has had its Explore (deliberate naming on Google’s part, surely not?) function for some time.
But it is already easy to see how the Explorer tool could eventually be included in a wider and more general travel platform that the search giant increasingly looks to be plotting in various ways.
Frommers, Zagat, Hotel Finder, Flight Search, Places – it’s all coming together.