Travel Trends – Panoramio,, Offbeat Guides, Tripology, Google TV Ads

Google Introduces ‘Look Around’ with Panoramio – Last week Google, via it’s recently acquired subsidiarity Panoramio, introduced a new ‘Look Around’ feature, which allows the visitor to click through images, view different angles and essentially take a virtual tour of the area. If this sounds familiar, it should…Microsoft has been showing off Photosynth for a year now…unlike Photosynth, it appears that Panoramio and Google have actually launched the product for public use. The technology behind the ‘Look Around’ feature, and Photosynth, is quite impressive and with so many images available via Flickr or Photobucket, the possibilities to combine hundreds of thousands of photos into one tour…of a specific area…could prove to be a powerful tool to further encourage travel.

Priceline’s Sunshine Guarantee – As part of its summer promo…and Mr. Shatner…has launched a Sunshine Guarantee for your vacation. Book via priceline to 100+ destinations and if it rains (more than .5 of an inch) you get your money back. An interesting promo…that I am sure if valid in Arizona!

Offbeat Guides LaunchesTechCrunch has a great review of the newly launched beta of Started by Technorati founder Dave Sifry…TechCrunch also has a video interview with Dave…Offbeat Guides combines online content, maps, weather, current events etc, etc all specific to your travel dates into a printable .pdf guide or as an actual paper guide (complete with your name on the cover). However, unlike the similar site Nile Guide (I say similar, not exact, I think Offbeat has a better product), Offbeat Guides charges $10 for the .pdf and $25 for the printed copy…a bit of a surprise for the ‘free’ web, but then again, you just paid $20 for a Fodor’s guide and only read 10-15 pages of relevant content.  Which one was the better value?  Overall, an intriguing product, great idea and another example of print on demand technology becoming more and more prevalent.  A product we will keep an eye on.

Tripology – Launched a few months ago, Tripology, like Offbeat Guides, spins the online travel planning market back around. Instead of planning your trip online and breaking free from the dictatorship of the travel agent, Tripology allows a user to enter a travel destination and finds a travel agent to plan your trip for you. LendingTree for travel, I suppose.

Google Begins Tracking TV Ads Via Google Analytics – Yes, more Google…but, they just keeping doing the right things to make our lives easier. Another post from TechCrunch summarizes how Google has begun using it’s Analytics program to not only track you online stats and campaigns, but also TV ads purchased via Google TV Ads. As the review notes, there is not a direct correlation between online visitation and the TV ads, but if your goal is to drive traffic to a website, you can at least view the spikes and dips in website traffic after the TV ad has run. Add that to the fact that Google is now selling ads online, TV (with satellite provider Dish Network), in newspapers and on radio and you can begin to see how Google Analytics (and Google) will and could quickly become the centralized location to track all of your advertising.

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