Google made it easier to find train routes and booking options in Europe. Like it did for flights, hotels, vacation rentals, and things to do, the new feature improves Google's standing in the rail sector.
Google is trying to improve the search for train routes in Europe, a move that will likely enhance its own position in the sector.
For example, when users enter “Berlin to Vienna trains” in Google.com, the query generates a module that enables people to enter a departure date and time of day, and then to compare the available rail options and prices.
The search results in the new module for now only include direct booking links to rail operators such as Deutsche Bahn for the Vienna route or Eurostar for a Paris to London trip, for example. Google would undoubtably like to eventually add booking options for third-party rail booking sites within the module.
Previously, Google didn’t generate such a consolidated module of train routes and booking links in search results, but retrieved separate ads for rail operators SNCF Connect and Rail Europe, for example, as well as unpaid search results for search engines such as Kayak and Momondo, and rail aggregators including Omio and Trainline, as it continues to do today.
The new feature improves and streamlines the rail search experience on Google.com for train routes in and around countries including Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan, and will bolster Google’s position as a place to find train booking options on Google.com in the new module rather than the current system of exclusively sending users off to third-party sites where they would likely have to take additional steps to see their train booking choices.
Google announced this new feature today, as well as other “new tools for more sustainable travel.”
“This feature will expand to more locations as we work with more rail providers,” Google stated. “We also plan to begin testing a similar feature for bus tickets in the near future to further broaden your choices for intercity travel.”
New Filters for To Find More Sustainable Flights and Hotels
Google likewise added new filters to find more environmentally friendly options for flights and hotels.
In Google Flights, users can now select a Low Emissions filter to find flights with lower emissions than others, and an Eco-certified filter to find a list of more sustainable accommodations options.
Previously, properties self-reported their sustainability credentials, but Google has now added eco-certifications from groups such as the U.S. Green Building Council for LEED ratings, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Photo credit: Pictured is a Eurostar train. Google made it sleeker to find rail options in certain European countries. Eurostar