Google has released a new app to the public that takes its Gmail inbox-reading machine learning prowess and applies it to travel.
Dubbed Google Trips, the app consolidates all of the travel data Google has collected from Gmail (with your permission) and arrays it in an easy-to-understand way, with offline support for those times you don't have cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.
The app takes what Inbox and Google Now have been doing for some time — deciphering the automatic emails you get from booking sites, travel agents, and other sources — and adds personalized recommendations for what the company calls the "top 200 cities in the world." These include local tourist hotspots, restaurants and "local gems," consolidating them into a full day's tour that can be followed offline.
The app has been in beta since April, and as a result feels extremely polished and well-designed. From a recent trip to San Francisco, for example, it pulled in my flight and hotel data as well as any places I'd saved in Google Maps. It also described local customs, shopping districts, and any other essential information such as available of taxis and how to navigate the public transit system.
Trips can be as automatic or customized as you want, depending on how much time and investment you want to put into it. You can also add one location in a city and have Trips fill in nearby attractions based on that manual input — very clever if you know you have one or two things to hit but don't have a full day planned.
While much of this information is available through various Google services already — Gmail, Inbox, Maps, and Google Now — it's nice to see an app like Trips that, for the avid traveler, will fill in any of those blanks.