Abhimanyu GhoshalManaging Editor
Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].
I love to travel. I frequently extend my work trips to cover more ground in the cities I visit, but I often don’t have much time to plan my activities at each destination.
That’s why I’m always on the lookout for tools that can help me discover things to do on these trips – so I’m glad Google’s just launched a beautiful new site to do just that.
It’s called Touring Bird, and it’s the latest product from the company’s Area 120 division, which fosters employees’ side projects that they conceptualize during their 20 percent time at the firm.
The site lists attractions, activities, and tips for 20 major cities, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Boston, Los Angeles, Madrid, New Delhi, New York, Prague, and Toronto. In addition to useful information about each place of interest, you’ll also find options to book a seat or score admission.
For example, if you choose Barcelona, you’ll find the Sagrada Familia listed under Top Sights, where you can learn some facts about the church, find links to various ticketing options, and read tips from local contributors about what else you can do nearby.
The site (available on desktop and mobile) is beautifully designed, and includes a varied mix of pointers for each city to help you get an idea of what you can see, taste, and do there. I liked that there were plenty of listings for free activities and walking tours – great for exploring on a budget.
However, it’s not my favorite tool for planning a trip. Lonely Planet has a similar app for Android and iOS called Guides, with information on more than 220 cities. I like using its map to find several points of interest that are close to each other, so I can spend less time getting around town to see them.
Still, Touring Bird gets one important thing right: its attractive design and useful tips help you get excited about what you’ll see on your next trip. So even if you don’t use it to meticulously chart out your holiday, you’ll at least get a sense of the places you’ll visit. It can also serve as a handy reckoner to help track down trusted ticket booking options for when you’re ready to start checking out attractions.
It’s also worth noting that Google already has a great travel app called Trips, which not only lists notable sights and activities in scores of cities, but also pulls your hotel and flight booking info from your Gmail to create an itinerary that’s easy to retrieve for quick reference and sharing. It’d be great to see Touring Bird’s information and crowdsourced tips baked into Trips at some point. Oh, and Google noted that it plans to cover more cities in the coming months.
Give Touring Bird a go by visiting the site from your desktop or phone. If you want to contribute tips, you’ll need to visit this page from your desktop and create a profile to get started.
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