For business travelers, delayed or cancelled flights demolish long-anticipated meetings and can throw entire days into disarray. But new predictive technology courtesy of Google aims to stop airport meltdowns in their tracks and provide succinct alternatives with the mere tap of a smartphone.
The company announced this week on its travel blog several new features for Google Now including a “Find alternate flights” link that automatically appears when flights are delayed or cancelled. The tool derives this information based on flight confirmations within users’ Gmail accounts.
Additionally, the search giant is rolling out other features to diffuse a host of travel anxieties -- including weather tracking, recommendations for restaurants at travel destinations, traffic estimates en route to airports and flight status information in real time.
Furthermore, Google Now can display boarding passes for certain airlines automatically. And upon arrival at one’s destination, the service provides directions to car-rental centers and hotels.
In order to use these features, however, “you have to be comfortable with giving Google permission to sift through your Gmail account to get all the necessary details,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Users must also enable Google Now, which is basically a personal assistant tool within the Google Search mobile app and on Chrome.
For now, the features are only available to Android users. While Google Now is available within the Google Search app for iOS, Google Now is built into the operating system of many Android devices themselves.