David Amerland
Google expands use of AI in its apps and services

Google Throws A Wide AI Net

The launch of Google’s app called Google Trips is, on the surface, just another travel app helping you organize your trip. But, really this is not what it is at all. 

Google’s universe, these days, is being powered by machine learning algorithms everywhere. Being what we can best imagine as localized artificial intelligence programs they also inform each other and sync seamlessly from different regions of the Googleverse to provide a seamless experience. 

So Gmail (AI enhanced, these days), talks to Google Maps and Google Search, Google Now and even Chrome to better understand what the end user is doing it provides a helpful AI assistant in the guise of an app that aims to take the stress away from working out the details of travel so that you can focus instead on what is truly important: the content of your trip.

As someone who is used to travelling to places I have usually never been to before on tight timelines I can testify that it used to involve Google Keep (for keeping notes and all the important contact details), Google maps (for bookmarking places and venues), Google search (for finding the details that involve connecting trains and ordering taxis) and Chrome bookmarks (where the odd restaurant or landmark would be stored), plus Google Now (because it used to always give me some new place to see within walking distance of my hotel). 

Even on a trip where everything else went according to plan, this was a lot to juggle. 

As the video below makes evident, this is no longer the case. Ashley handles all her trip misadventures like a seasoned traveler, thanks to the Google Trip app and all she really has to contend with is the cute goat and some pretty cool Spanish music.

What It All Means

In case you haven’t quite figured all this out, this is a morphed kind of search, enhanced with predictive capabilities and full access to a Google profile’s search history, likes, dislikes, network of friends and stored history of interests. 

It is, in many ways, a travel version of the personal digital assistant you wished you had each time you traveled in the past. As such it has a huge implication for end users who will:

  • Become better versed at using predictive, proactive, Google-account linked applications and services
  • Get accustomed to any perceived ‘spookiness’ from the AI capabilities of the app
  • Understand, at least subconsciously, the direct benefits of the trade-off between providing their data and getting something truly useful in return
  • Become accustomed to using Google search services that are no longer in the familiar form of the Google search box
  • Learn to use a variety of other similar Google apps (Waze, Google Maps, Keep, Google Now, etc) because of the positive experience and ease of use of this one

For Google, it is one more step into the AI-pervading Googleverse where everything is governed by useful, intelligent algorithms that hum quietly in the background, delivering services and harvesting data which they can use to enhance their real-world understanding and overall efficiency.

When a company makes it as easy as Google does to just pack up and leave and take all your data with you it then has to work twice as hard to make sure that what it provides you with is both useful and easy to use and Google Trips is a classic example of this. 

For marketers and anyone doing business this is one more opportunity to be found, acquire customers with ease and use the digital domain to work smarter instead of harder. They require:

  • Useful content
  • A diverse digital presence (i.e. website plus social media accounts)
  • A great customer service experience
  • Good reputation and trustworthiness

All the things actually, albeit in a very different form and format, that they’d need if we all lived in a tiny village and never traveled further than the village square. 

The “Get Real” prompt is getting a little tiring (mainly because I have been saying this since 2012) but it has never been more imperative than now, nor have the potential returns been higher.


© 2019 David Amerland. All rights reserved