New Apps on the block: Google Trips and Amazon Pantry Posted Jan 11, 2017 by techrevel

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Here is all that is new at the Google and Amazon apps ecosystem!


Google Trips

Earlier this week, Google released the newest addition to its app factory – Google Trips. This is available for both iOS and Android.

Google Trips is designed in a way that it digs out details regarding your trips from Gmail conversations and creates what they call a ‘travel advisor’ which is personalized for you. Google Trips is amazingly easy to use and also sets up itself on your smartphone. As soon as you launch the app on your phone it runs through your Gmail contents and starts creating a list of al trips mentioned there- the ones from the past and the ones that are planned for the future. Additionally, you can also create a trip manually on the app by adding a destination and it will bring up places of interest there. You can finish by adding details about your travel tickets and accommodation for the trip.

It can be a little intimidating for one to see the app working itself, rummaging through old emails, and presenting a long list of all trips you have ever taken along with detailed summaries of tickets and hotel reservations. The focal point of the app easily is the ‘Things To Do’ card that show above the top spots for a destination and also customizes a list of attractions in that area customized for you. The fact that the working of the app quickly becomes a reminder of how well Google knows you and details of your life can be uncanny for some users.

Google Trips also borrows heavily from the success of initiatives like Tripadvisor and HolidayIQ. This becomes your go to a folder like the app that stores all your trip details neatly organized in the sequence of their occurrence. All of these can be saved and viewed offline later- which is critical so that the user does not have to spend on roaming data while on a trip. It also combines the functionality of Pocket articles that you would have clipped for the destination and your Evernote account maybe for the shopping list that you created before beginning the journey.

There is also the functionality of a planning section, cards for activities such as dining and drinking places, how to get around, must know facts and a FAQ section.

An area where it can use more work is reviews. Currently, most reviews are pulled out of Google reviews and that is a problem, at least for the Indian traveler who relies on specialized reviewing services instead of Google reviews. Indians prefer Tripadvisor for hotel reviews, Zomato for dining and drinking joints reviews and HolidayIQ for destination reviews. These traditional services have millions of crowdsourced reviews with user images that are more useful than Google Reviews. As far as international destinations are concerned, the app’s dependency on reviews sourced from Google should not be a big problem for travelers.

A huge potential of Google Trips lies in its possibility to link to Google Photos historically. The app can however beautifully keep a track of your photos from the trips you take after installing it. It automatically creates an album for every new trip you take with it. However, the possibility of being able to do this for trips in the past will make the experience even better.

Just like any other service online, Google Trips has its pros and cons. Trips is extremely easy and speedy to use, and almost does all the work itself including the setup. However the results it throws up are from Google services and usually unauthenticated. This is more than made up for by Google Trips since no other service probably knows you as much as Google does and hence the experience is extremely customized for you. The question that remains unanswered is that if Indian audiences will be willing to trade off their personal data for the convenience that this app provides. It is important to note that even though it may look like an invasion of your privacy, there is hardly anything that Google already doesn’t know about you and your life. Additionally, all information the Google Trips sources about your travel plans is already with Google in form of Gmail.


Amazon Pantry

Amazon India recently launched its Pantry service in Hyderabad, where customers can shop for their daily needs. This is available as an app and web portal where users are allowed to fill up a virtual box amongst 4000 everyday essentials categories. This box is then delivered to the user’s doorsteps b the next day. A company statement said that Amazon Pantry is designed to provide convenience for users as they go about stocking up a basket online with items they purchase frequently while giving them great saving deals as compared to purchasing from markets.

Amazon, the largest online retailer in the world, brought ‘Amazon Prime’ its premium subscription offering to India last year in July. For Indian users, Amazon Prime is a service that allows one or two day deliveries with no minimum cap on order size or value. This is additional to

The world's largest online retailer, Amazon brought its premium subscription service - Amazon Prime - to India in July. In India, Prime comes with unlimited one-day and two-day deliveries with no minimum order size, apart from early access to some deals on Amazon, as well as some Prime-members only deals.

The Amazon Pantry service was released in the US with much fanfare only for Prime customers. Interestingly, the same has been made accessible as a service in India for all customers. The fee structure for this service is also very economical. A delivery charge of Rs. 20 per box is levied for customers in general. For Amazon Prime customers, however, there is promotional offer running currently and they are not supposed to pay any delivery charge. One box for Amazon Pantry service is able to contain up to 15kg or 3 cubic feet of essential items.

Other popular brands in this category like BigBasket.com and Grofers are watching this space closely.

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