Finding a hotel is as easy as pointing to a [Google] map

Courtesy Google Hotel Finder

Google recently unveiled its new, experimental search tool, the Hotel Finder, and its innovations have us excited. It’s exactly in line with how we’ve been trained to think about finding things on a Google map, with some smart new features to help guide your search.

Here’s how it works:

You type in your destination, and up comes a map with a flexible square on it. Click and drag the shape’s corners until it covers all the ground you’re planning on for your trip. In Los Angeles, for example, you could concentrate on downtown, the beach, or recalibrate entirely for your weekend out to Palm Springs.

One unique feature, called "Highlight popular areas" shines what Google calls a "tourist spotlight" on the most trafficked places in your search field—a clever idea that can help you navigate an unfamiliar city. (Interestingly, while this version of the Hotel Finder only works in the U.S. at the moment, these highlights can be seen all across the globe when you zoom out.)

When you commence clicking on the hotels in your custom search grid, the reviews, photos, and contact info appear in a pop up box on top of the map, so you’re not navigating to another window—and if you see something you like, you can simply add it to your shortlist to review later.

It’s a fun tool to play with, and we’ve found it to be really up to date, mining current Google user reviews as well. Give it a spin yourselves and tell us how you think it stacks up to other hotel search engines you’ve used!


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