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Google's New Tools Improve The Way We Travel

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“Google, when does my flight leave?” I asked Google Now aloud.

Within seconds, the app accessed my flight reservation and created a travel card, announcing that Virgin Atlantic flight VS45 from London to New York had been delayed 45 minutes.

This is just one way Google is trying to make travel easier for users, along with a handful of other recently unveiled new and updated tools.

The latest features in Google Maps make it easier to navigate, and to avoid heavy traffic. Incident Reports automatically show you congestion on the route, and Lane Guidance makes it hard to miss an exit. An integrated Uber-option, parked-car locater, and the ability to save maps for offline use are other brand-new capabilties. 

The team also took automatic photo editing to the next level with Stories. This intuitive feature senses when you have traveled, and compiles all photos from the trip into a chronological narrative. In addition to adding filters (such as a photo booth-style frame) Stories uses geo-tags for landmark detection (because we can't always remember which monument was where) and can also identify the restaurants and hotels you visited.

If you have the extra time, it's possible to edit the storyboard manually to input captions, additional photos, and music. 

As with all good things, there are inevitable flaws and glitches. While Google Now worked perfectly on my return trip home, the travel card that insisted I was departing for London an entire day later than scheduled.

There has been no explanation for the error, though it was easy enough to say, "Google, call Virgin Atlantic" to confirm that I was, in fact, leaving on Thursday—not Friday.

Other good Google news? Stories, which was originally released exclusively to Android, launched on iOS yesterday. If you're already on Google+, look forward to personalized slideshows appearing in your account every time you step outside your standard geo-range. 

Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.

Photo courtesy of Melanie Lieberman

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