June 25th, 2009: The launch of Google City Tours reported on TechCrunch today is part of its growing list of Labs products and another entry in what is becoming an ever more crowded field for trip planning solutions combining local information, mapping, user generated content and social networking.
It’s far from a complete solution and still lacks elements that make it great but it’s just out of the gate and will certainly developed further.
What’s important here, is that these mashups all offer in most cases a new and improved way to plan and experience a visit to a city. The same solutions could, of course, be applied to wider geographic locations, including regions and entire countries.
To extrapolate on this idea, why not for multi-day road trips or multi-destination trips involving air and rail transportation like a trip to Europe for instance. A traveler’s personalized itinerary could be assembled with these tools as part of the trip planning process with all the local services mapped out.
As a next step why not allow the customer to find and add accommodation options for each city - and maybe even restaurants - and book these services right from within the customer self-developed trip plan? We might even call it a personal preferences based, truly dynamic packaging solution. OK, maybe this all sounds like so much theory but looking at the recent developments in this area of trip planning tools, it seems in the realm of the possible that some solution along these lines might be realized as the technology capabilities required to make it happen are being built.