Google Boosts Trip-Planning Features in Search

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You're still picking corn out of your teeth from the July 4th BBQ. But Memorial Day is just around the corner and Thanksgiving is only four months away, so Google wants to assist with holiday travel.

Citing an uptick in mobile travel booking, the Web giant is rolling out a handful of new ways to plan your vacation from a smartphone or tablet.

Hotel Smart Filters, as the name suggests, lets users filter search results based on specific needs: pet-friendly hotels in San Francisco for less than $200 per night, for instance. Also keep an eye out for the "Deal" label, appearing when a hotel's price is unusually low, and Tips, which notify people of money-saving strategies.

For those flying to their destination, Google is making it easier to track flight prices: Opt in to see fare changes for a date and route, or watch specific journeys. When prices increase or decrease "significantly," users will be notified via email and Google Now cards.

In April, there were reports that Google was testing a Trips app among members of its Local Guides program, allowing folks to collect and organize boarding passes, money exchange, hotel reservations, rental car bookings, and more in one app.

A month earlier, it introduced Destinations, which is intended to help you discover and plan your next getaway. Open the Google Search app and type the continent, country, or state you'd like to visit, with the "destination" tag, and instantly browse a collection of options.

Back to search, Google is also introducing a number of new shopping features, including what sounds like a throwback to The Price Is Right.

Showcase Shopping ads—available now in the US, UK, and Australia—provide a visually rich platform for consumers to scroll through different retailers based on broad search terms like "summer dresses."

The global e-commerce market, however, can be a difficult one to navigate. So Google is testing a tool to perform currency conversions in Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and the UK.

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