Google Debuts City Tours

The new feature should help users plan short trips

Google is getting into everything these days, and the latest feature to be introduced is the new City Tours, which, as the name implies, can be used to plan short trips in cities around the world. City Tours has debuted in Google Labs, the company's experimental products site, and Google hasn't even made the usual blog post announcing it.

The service is easy to use and there are already many cities available, not just the obvious travel locations. All you need to do is provide it with a city name, and the site will suggest popular places to visit and also three-day itineraries and the schedule to follow.

The itineraries appear to be auto-generated and, as expected from a Labs product, aren't exactly perfect, with sometimes weird choices for the sites to visit. But you can fix that, because Google allows you to plan a custom trip by adding and changing the locations. The local attractions have a star rating, as well as the location and operating hours, and the time needed to get from one location to another is also calculated by the site.

There are some glitches that affect City Tours, and some obvious features aren't integrated yet, like the the support for Google Transit, as, currently, all trips suggested are by foot, sometimes with two-hour-long walks. Still, as the City Tours matures and is released as a stand-alone product, or integrated into Google Maps, we should see a host of new features and improvements. There are already other services that have similar functions and, in most cases, they are more suited for the job, but this is just an early release and, when Google launches a product, the competition should worry.

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