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Google Maps' City Tours

Friday, July 10, 2009 , Posted by Author at Friday, July 10, 2009

City Tours, the new experimental project from Google Labs, looks like a good candidate for inclusion in the increasingly popular Google Maps.
Google City Tours
According to Google, the service "helps you identify points of interest and plan multi-day trips to most major cities. You just specify the location of your hotel and the length of your trip and City Tours will map out an itinerary for you."

The experimental version of City Tours has limited features. It only lists popular sights and it suggests when you should visit them. The user can edit the information about a place and can add new sights, but again the options are limited.

Google itself has suggested it would be useful to show more details about sights from Wikipedia and from image hosting sites like Flickr or Panoramio. Google works on landmark recognition, a project that associates images from the web with landmarks, and City Tours is an obvious application.

Travel & Tourism Technology Trends believes Google has focused on the right target: "Think about the data set required to produce City Tours. They have combined their Google Local Search and business listings from partner directories, geo-tagged the data (presumably with street name data and their API), and then mapped them along with suggested itineraries for major cities all around the World."

T&T Technology Trends adds that City Tours is totally in line with Google's mission. "The interface seems simple enough and the features are limited at the moment, but the potential impact on in-destination tourism is massive. Think about all the local businesses like guided city tours, tour guides, bike tours, and the like that can (and will) jump in and add their information to Google Local Search so they get listed.

"Google stands to add hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of new data points to their index. Imagine what can be done with that data through various devices."

Google has not yet disclosed its revenue model for City Tours. Given the history of Google, however, revenue could well come from sponsored listings.

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