Posted:
(Cross-posted on the ITA Software by Google blog) 

More and more travelers are using tablets to search for and book travel. In fact, 46% of all US tablet owners who search for travel, actually purchase via their tablet. We also know that people use their tablets differently than they use their desktop. That’s why we’ve optimized our Flight Search experience for those who prefer to search with a tablet, such as a Nexus 7 or an iPad.

Starting today, travelers can search for and book flights on any tablet device by going to http://www.google.com/flights/. With the touch of your finger, you can easily explore places to visit on the map and see prices updated in real-time for each destination.



              


If you’re flexible with your dates you can also use our lowest fares tool and scroll across days, weeks and months to find the cheapest dates to take your trip. Your results will be updated super-fast, even when you switch dates or destinations.



                 


We hope this makes planning your next trip easier and more enjoyable -- whether you’re using your desktop, laptop, mobile device or tablet. We look forward to your continued feedback on Flight Search.

Posted by Rani Manoharan, User Interface Designer, Travel

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Since we launched Google Trends and Google Insights for Search, we’ve seen millions of people using Trends to keep up with trending interests online, and a range of journalists, businesses and researchers around the world using Insights for Search to compare the popularity of search terms over time and across regions. We have made steady improvements over time, most recently revamping our Hot Searches list to provide richer context for breakout searches.

Now we are merging Insights for Search into Google Trends, wrapping it all up in a clean new interface to give you a clearer view of what’s on the world’s mind. The new Google Trends now includes features from both products and makes it easier and more intuitive to dig into the data. We’ve updated the line chart and map using HTML5 based Google Chart Tools so you can now load the page on your mobile devices, visualize the results without scrolling, and get Hot Searches not just for the U.S., but also India, Japan, and Singapore.

So, what exactly can you learn about people’s interests from Google Trends? A few of our recent favorites:


We’ve seen so many examples of insights gleaned from Trends, from the Oscars to the Super Bowl; from shopping to elections; from our yearly Google Zeitgeist summary to the many we’ve found around the web.

Google Trends data can be used to better understand global trends -- identifying health trends such as in flu trends, nowcasting in economics, and studies on the predictability of search trends. And it has been used in many scientific articles across disciplines.

There’s so much in this data for journalists, academics, and anybody who’s curious about the world to explore, and we’d love to see what you find. Email us your favorites at trends-stories@google.com.

Posted by Yossi Matias, Senior Engineering Director in Search, Head of Israel R&D Center

Posted:
(Cross-posted on the ITA Software by Google blog)

If you’re thinking about attending the 179th Oktoberfest, there’s still time. It runs September 22 -October 7 in Munich, Germany. Just in case you’re planning a trip, we’ve assembled some tips for how you can use Google tools like Flight Search, Hotel Finder, Maps and Transit to help you plan an amazing trip -- whether you’re using your desktop, laptop or on your Android device.


If you want to figure out the best beer tents to visit, this Google Map will be a great place to turn during the event (will be live 09/22/12). When the pin over the tent is green, the tent still has seating and is open. When the pin is red, the tent is closed because of overfilling.

My favorite tent is the Hippodrom, a smaller tent frequented by a younger crowd -- and recently discovered by celebrities. It offers beer -- of course -- but also has a sekt (sparkling wine) bar that is pretty stylish. You should plan on arriving early if you want to visit.

You can also see live pics from Oktoberfest by clicking on various webcams on the map. This capability is very useful in providing information to help you choose the tents you’re most interested in visiting.


You might also want to plan ahead and consider the crowds and traffic. With Google Maps for Android, you can take a look at live traffic to see if you want to drive -- or choose to just walk, bike or take transit.

If you want to see more of Germany, you can use Google Transit to reach other cities such as Hamburg or Frankfurt. This navigation tool includes information about Deutsche Bahn (DB) trains and recommends the best transit options, taking into account various factors such as duration and number of Umstiege (transfers/stops). The options are then shown on the map, along with time, train type and duration of the trip. This is especially handy because it’s possible to click through from the transit options page, to purchase your tickets on bahn.de without needing to reenter the dates!

And if you’re a non-Bavarian who doesn’t speak German, don’t worry. You can use Google Translate or the official Oktoberfest dictionary to communicate with the locals.

So now that your interest is piqued, you’ll probably want to plan a trip right away. You can do so by going to www.google.com and searching for [flights to Munich]. Your departure city will be automatically recognized; mine was New York City. As you change your dates, prices will instantly update.

             

I prefer nonstop flights, so I clicked on “Nonstop” to get a list of flight times available at the $1,073 USD price and then evaluated various attributes of the flights -- including the cost of checked bags for this ticket. Once I picked the flights that worked for me, I clicked the red “Book” button to make my booking via the airline’s website.

                

Finally, you can use Hotel Finder to find hotels near Oktoberfest in Munich. You can do this by going to www.google.com/hotelfinder and entering [Oktoberfest Munich, Germany], along with the dates you plan to be in town. You can use the reviews, images, ratings and pricing information to create a shortlist. Once I selected the hotel I was interested in, I used the red booking button which took me to www.booking.com to complete my reservation.

                

We hope you found these tips helpful. Whether you end up hitting the Wiesn tents this October, or visiting Germany at some point in the future, we hope to help you plan your trip and connect with travel suppliers with ease.

Posted:
(Cross-posted on the Google Student Blog)

If you missed Power Searching with Google a few months ago or were unable to complete the course the first time around, now’s your chance to sign up again for our free online course that aims to empower our users with the tools and knowledge to find what they’re looking for more quickly and easily.

The community-based course features six 50-minute classes along with interactive activities and the opportunity to hear from search experts and Googlers about how search works. Beginning September 24, you can take the classes over a two-week period, share what you learn with other students in a community forum, and complete the course assessments to earn a certificate of completion.

During the course’s first run in July, people told us how they not only liked learning about new features and more efficient ways to use Google, but they also enjoyed sharing tips and learning from one another through the forums and Hangouts. Ninety-six percent of people who completed the course also said they liked the format and would be interested in taking similar courses, so we plan to offer a suite of upcoming courses in the coming months, including Advanced Power Searching.

Stay tuned for further announcements on those upcoming courses, and don’t forget to register now for Power Searching with Google. You’ll learn about things like how to search by color, image, and time and how to solve harder trivia questions like our A Google a Day questions. We’ll see you when we start up in two weeks!

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Last month, we showed how you can now get answers to your questions with the help of the Knowledge Graph even when the best answer is not just a single person or thing, but a collection or list of items. When looking for [cedar point rides], you see a carousel of popular roller coasters at the amusement park, drawing on our Knowledge Graph and the collective intelligence of the Web. The feature was initially available in English on google.com, and we’re now taking our first steps to make it available more widely around the world. Over the next couple days, we’ll begin showing the carousel for factual lists to our English users on all Google domains across the world.



This works for a variety of locally interesting lists like [aamir khan movies], [cast of the it crowd] or [mountains of the alps] or more general queries like [saturn’s moons] or [dog breeds]. The carousel makes it easy to explore the items in the list -- it stays attached to the top of the search results page so you can flip through the items easily and dive in deeper if something catches your interest. Happy exploring!

Posted by Kavi Goel, Product Manager