One of the more frustrating elements of booking flights online is being unsure about whether you're getting a deal, an average price or an overly-expensive ticket. The always-useful Google Flights will soon offer a solution to that issue by rolling out a feature that shows how good the price you're given is, based on historical pricing and flight ticket costs so far that year.
The price tracking feature shows where your price lands on a gradient with three sections: low, typical, and high. The feature is available on mobile for flights in the U.S. beginning today, August 27th.
In addition to the new price tracking feature for flights, Google is also adding some pretty thorough price tracking and comparison tools for hotels. For example, if you're looking for a hotel room in San Francisco this holiday season, not only can you see how historical prices compare to the current rates — you can also compare the price against other hotels in the same city within a similar price range (and star rating) during the same time period. Price insights for hotels is available globally on mobile.
Google's also made it easier for users who want to vacation, but don't care so much about where, to browse its Explore Map for cheap deals. You can search large expanses of the world like "Southern Europe," set a given time period, and Google Flights will return results with good deals highlighted in green. This is now available globally on mobile and desktop.
To top it all off and draw more eyes to its resources, the search giant made a nifty little collection of tools for popular travel destinations this holiday season (Thanksgiving, December holidays, and New Years) — with flight price trends, hotel deals, and tourist activities.
These updates follow a steady stream of improvements to Google Flights, keeping the service highly competitive against travel booking platforms like Kayak or Hipmunk, which don't offer the same granularity of data insights. Earlier this year, Google Flights introduced flight delay estimation using machine learning, and in 2017 the service underwent a mobile and desktop redesign that brought in more deals-finding features.
Google clarified where the updates are available, and on what platform. This article has been updated accordingly.