Everyone knows the December holiday season is generally the worst time to travel, but most of us do it anyway. Those of you anticipating the frustrations of air travel this time of year might be pleased to know, however, that Google is rolling out a few features for Google Assistant, Flights, and Search to make the journey a bit more bearable. Among the most useful new features: Google's flight delay predictions (revealed early this year) have now come to Assistant, meaning you can ask "Hey Google, is my flight on time?" and the AI will use historic flight status data and machine learning to make a prediction even before the airline your traveling with confirms the delay.
Previous to this update, Google only showed delay information when travelers searched in Google Flights. Now that it's a command in Assistant, it's a lot more useful - especially for hands-free use in a busy airport. What's more, over the next few weeks Google says the Assistant will begin proactively notifying mobile users if it predicts a flight delay, along with the reason behind the holdup.
Google has also updated its hotel and flight price tracker with the ability to check prices for a specific holiday and/or school break, like December holidays, New Years, Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, and spring break. For instance, if you're heading from NYC to LA for New Years, you can see that 124 days before a Boxing Day departure travelers pay on average $610 for a one-way ticket to LA, while 24 days before they pay $450. Additionally, Google Flights is getting a small update to help more accurately predict airfare costs - users can now filter Flights results to include checked bag fees for domestic flights in the US.
When you get where you're going (and if you're new to the area), Google is also now listing more tourist experiences in addition to just showing destinations. For example, searching "things to do in Nashville" brings up sporting events, wine tours, and other activities. Beyond the addition of more experience listings, this 'Things to do' section has new filters for results, such as "kid-friendly," and you can now see the section in map form - to which I can only say: best of luck, Yelp. Google is coming for you.