I’ve used services like Kayak.com to get prices for a trip, but haven’t dived into Yahoo’s Trip Planner before. Looks like I was missing out on some useful and interesting information. If you haven’t checked it out, you may want to give it a try – It combines a nice mix of information from service providers and from people who have shared their travel experiences on the site.
I wish I had taken a look in anticipation of my trip to Las Vegas for Pubcon a couple of weeks ago.
One thing that stands out is the use of maps in the Trip Planner. I’ve been looking at Google maps a lot lately in the context of local search, and like the way that Yahoo has integrated the use of local information, reviews, services, maps, and user created travel journals into this service. Trip Planner (in beta) was added to Yahoo Travel in October, 2005.
A patent application which appears to describe many of the details built into the Yahoo Trip Planner was published this week, and provides some interesting information. One of those may have implications for the future use of map-based services at Google.
Interactive map-based travel guide
Invented by Jianing Hu and Pasha Sadri
US Patent Application 20060271277
Published November 30, 2006
Filed: October 28, 2005
A trip planner is provided for creating, modifying, categorizing, and sharing online trip plans. A trip plan includes a list of items such as hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions selected from a travel guide or provided by a user. An item can have a street address for positioning the item on a map, an image and description of the item, and other metadata assigned by the user, such as tags and notes. The trip planner can generate an itinerary listing the items, and a corresponding map showing the locations of the items. A trip plan can be shared with other users, who can locate the trip plan by searching for the tags or other metadata.
The patent application provides a lot of detail about a Trip Planning system that seems very like the one developed by Yahoo, but what I found most interesting was that one of the co-authors, Pasha Sadri, is now with Google.
He joined Google in 2005, where he works with another former Yahoo employee who focused on maps while at Yahoo, Thai Tran (see: Mapping method and system for one joint effort between the two while at Yahoo). I’m left wondering what Pasha Sadri has been working upon while at Google.