Google FlightSearch has added a fun new "I'm Feeling Lucky" button to its FlightSearch service so that prospective travelers can see which exciting destinations Google might suggest for their next trip.
The "I'm Feeling Lucky" button is rolling out to Google FlightSearch users over the next several days and provides some intriguing travel ideas if you can't decide where to go on your own, according to a June 10 post by Gus Prevas, a software engineer on the Google Travel Team, on the Google Travel Blog.
FlightSearch was launched by Google in December 2012 as an experimental feature that lets users explore flights based on price, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
Now, that original service is getting the new Lucky button and several other added features, wrote Prevas."So, whether you know where you want to go or want to throw caution to the wind and visit some place completely new, we've got some fun, new ways to help you explore the world around you," he wrote.
Users can click on the "expand map" button to see all the places they can visit, he wrote. "If you're looking for some inspiration, you can click on the map to enter a full-screen exploring experience," wrote Prevas. "You can pan the entire world and see all of the different cities you can fly to, see photos of the top attractions for each city and see how the price changes based on holidays, day of the week or time of year."
The "I'm Feeling Lucky" button is "kind of like a travel slot machine," he wrote. "You can add price or time limits and press the button as many times as you want—we'll keep suggesting destinations you might like."
Other new features in FlightSearch now include information cards that appear whenever a user types a region in as their destination, wrote Prevas. The cards will be for the most popular destinations within that region, while users will also see destinations that are personalized for them based on their past searches, he wrote. "We'll also provide a map so you can see where these places are located—as well as the lowest fare and duration to fly to each place."
FlightSearch has morphed over time from Google's previous flight search services, including Flight Explorer and Google Flights, which previously gave prospective travelers the ability to easily search for flights from point A to point B. The earlier Flight Explorer service took the approach a bit farther, allowing travelers for the first time to consider multiple destinations and multiple days at once, all using live prices, according to Google. The Flight Explorer search page automatically determined the user's location, and then the destination could be entered. The page started a search by allowing the user to choose the approximate trip length for flexibility, starting with a default of three to five days.
Google's Flight search services were launched in September 2011 to help users search for airline flights and fares without leaving the Google Search pages. The service was made possible by Google's April 2011 $700 million acquisition and integration of ITA Software, a flight data provider, after a protracted antitrust investigation by the Justice Department. The service competes with popular travel search products from Microsoft Bing, Orbitz and others.
Google has been working hard to improve its travel services for users.
In November 2013, Google updated its Search app for iPhones and iPads with several new features, including the ability for users to receive their flight boarding passes on their devices. Also included were just-in-time details for travel itineraries.
In early December 2012, Google expanded its Google Now service to give travelers even more up-to-date travel information instantly and automatically, without their having to push a single button for updates on their Android mobile devices. Google Now cards present information through a series of flip-through "cards" that are visible on the screen of Android mobile devices, providing a different piece of information on each card.