Yesterday Google launched Google Hotel Finder, a "search tool specifically designed to help you find that perfect hotel," explains Google software engineer Andrew McCarthy on Google's blog. This isn't exactly innovative on Google's part, plenty of hotel search sites exist--Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, to name a few. And it's not like they're even the first search engine to integrate travel plans into their site. Bing has a travel section, where users can search for ideal lodging. What makes Google's new site different or better than what you're already using? We're here to help you figure that out, parsing the differences between Google Hotel Finder and your current site of choice.
First of all, here's what Google says makes Google Hotel Finder different than all other sites. On Hotel Finder you put in your desired location, dates, a price range, a hotel class rating, and a user rating. Google scours the interwebs for deals. Once you've chosen your rate, Hotel Finder shows you where you can purchase the deal and for how much, and then sends you off-site, either to the owner site or another hotel finding site to buy the room. So far, sounds like every other hotel finding site out there. However, Google highlights some unique features on its blog.
- Hotel Finder "shines a tourist spotlite" on the most visited areas of U.S. cities, so you can stay in the hippest, most popular areas.
- Under price it has a "compare to typical" section, where you can look at historical average prices, and see if the hotel is a good value.
- It provides pretty pictures. "You no longer need to open a new browser tab for each hotel result, and then go hunting around for pictures. When you select a hotel in Hotel Finder, we show you a collage of images, Google Places reviews, and key information right within the list," explains McCarthy.
- And as you peruse the site, you can "keep a shortlist," marking the deals you'd like to keep in mind for later.