It has become the norm for travellers to conduct a thorough Google search before embarking on a trip. For Thailand alone, "travelling" is ranking top of the search list for March as the Songkran holiday is fast approaching, according to Pornthip Kongchun, head of marketing for Google Thailand.
There are several websites and applications that will facilitate your travel plans and help you on your journey that are untapped potentials users should consider in this season of holidays.
For instance, the new What Do You Love? website (www.wdyl.com) is here to make all your plans easier and more well-rounded. It is a metasearch engine that allows you to get more of what you love by searching across numerous Google products with just one click.
Try typing in "Songkran holiday". The website will display anything related to the Thai New Year from Google programs, for example translating "Songkran holiday" into other languages, measuring the popularity of Songkran by interest over time, or showing videos of Songkran on YouTube. You can opt for a blog search and the results will show posts about "Songkran holiday", or plan your holiday events in the calendar.
By using the Chrome browser, users can synchronise the data they access on Wdyl to their smartphones or tablets.
Next, for a destination search, besides the basic maps and transportation functions, users can see the current traffic conditions before setting off and while you're on the go with the app "Live Traffic", where you can even get estimated travel times and find alternative routes if things look busy with Google Maps Navigation Beta.
Pornthip explained that people can use "My Maps" on the desktop to create a map of the places that matter to them most and access it from their phone.
"You can mark locations, add details such as photos and links and invite others to collaborate on your map. This is a tool for mapping out your travel plans or sharing a map of your favourite places with your friends," she said, adding that users can save and use certain maps offline. Users can sign in to their Google accounts to access one map across their devices with all their saved favourite places. They will even get search suggestions based on their desktop search history.
Next is Google Now, an intelligent personal assistant running on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), that tells you today's weather or how much traffic to expect. An extension of Android's native Google Search application, Google Now uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of web services. However, Google Now is available in English only.
Amy Kunrojpanya, head of communications and public affairs at Google Thailand said with Google Street View, tourists can preview a destination while they are on the go. Explore landmarks, parks, storefronts and roads around the world with 360-degree street-level imagery. Users can even look inside some restaurants, businesses, museums and cultural sites.
Street View covers some 17provinces in Thailand, some more 15 provinces have been in the process, with special collections of 16 locations such as the Grand Palace, Ananta Samakhom Grand Hall, Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, and Laem Phrom Thep, Phuket.
"You can invite your friends to join with you with the Google+ Hangouts application, available free of charge," she added.