Search travel info with Kayak.com Mobile

~ 24 August 2006 ~

For every nay-sayer that comes along arguing the mobile web has little value for users and even less for content developers, there are plenty of sites to prove otherwise.

Just today I happened upon Kayak Mobile. Doth mine eyes deceive me? Finally a decent way to search the web for travel info on the go? I can’t tell you how many times I could have used this the last couple months.

Kayak.com has been quietly climbing the ranks as the Google of travel searches. They don’t book flights or hotels, but rather search sites that do, and bring in revenue with paid advertising and results. (Side note: A similar “one to search them all” model for stock photography sites is long overdue. Somebody get cranking on that, please…)

And now from Steve Hafner and Paul English (founders) comes Kayak Mobile for your phone browser. It’s easy to use, it doesn’t promise more than the context of being mobile offers, yet delivers just what you need. Search flights, hotels, even places to eat and you’re given quick access to phone numbers and addresses. You can’t book a flight (imagine the data entry on your phone), but you’ll get price, departure/arrival times, and a phone number to call for reservations.

Here’s the home page. Nothing superfluous, just a category springboard:

More screens after the jump.

Flights

Choose “fly” and you’ll search for flights:

Hotels

Choose “sleep” and you’ll begin a search for hotels:

Food

Choose “eat” and… you get the point:

Miscellany

Search weather too, or send the site to a friend:

And finally, more about a Search API and Blackberry version from the Labs:

We’re having a blast with KayakMobile. The Air and Hotel functionality is built completely upon the public Search API in an effort to flesh out the API so other developers can also build fully-functional apps. If you happen to have a Blackberry, you’re welcome to install our KayakMobile Blackberry Launcher.

Coolness. This almost makes me look forward to being on the road again. Almost.

 

11  Comments

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1   Duncan ~ 24 August 2006 at 01:28 PM

cool… would be better if my phone could handle it though..


2   Cameron Moll ~ 24 August 2006 at 01:41 PM

How so, Duncan? Can’t pull it up? What’s your phone?


3   susan ~ 24 August 2006 at 04:58 PM

Hmm - it’s a little sluggish on my nokia - but that’s probably because I’m in the Verizon Wireless network.

It’s not the same thing for sure, but the beta Google SMS - search via txt’ing as opposed to mobile browser = more pleasant/quick/ez user experience - for me.


4   alain ~ 24 August 2006 at 05:19 PM

Thanks for the info about kayak mobile. Just tried it out on my phone and it’s truly a great service! One nice feature is that it recognizes airport codes for all of the searches. So, if you were searching for restaurants in the “eat” section, you could just type in “pdx” and it pulls up eateries in the portland area.

Less typing = happiness.


5   quack ~ 24 August 2006 at 08:43 PM

I must say, your stuff is fab.

Regarding the one search for all stock photo agencies, something has existed since 1999: imagegrabber (http://igi.imagegrabber.com/imagegrabber/start.aspx). If I remember correctly, when it first came out—as random eye which would also create design comps—it would search all the big stock houses as well but I guess legalities got in the way.


6   Duncan ~ 25 August 2006 at 01:39 AM

yea, it just doesnt seem to be able to pull it up, then again most websites do not work on my phone. its a sagem myV-55


7   Cameron Moll ~ 25 August 2006 at 04:18 AM

Susan - Yes, Google SMS search (US - 46645) and Yahoo SMS search (US - 92466) are certainly great options, too. I’ve used them often in recent months. I’d say the only big difference is being limited to 2-3 results at a time and no pricing.


8   susan ~ 25 August 2006 at 07:15 AM

Cameron.
Right, right, right. It’s a much stronger (deeper? more complex?) query app., guess I was just resinging myself to the fact that my phone sadly choked. And the better option for me (speed, ease) was txting.

That being said - I should do some research of my own - but I think Verizon’s browser environment is what they call the Walled Garden?? Or am I getting this all backward??


9   Cameron Moll ~ 25 August 2006 at 08:12 AM

Not sure about Verizon, actually. I know Sprint’s and Cingular’s web environments really well (which work fine with just about any site), but if someone else has info about Verizon’s walled (or not) network, speak up.


10   Paul ~ 26 August 2006 at 08:14 PM

Forget phones. This is the best system for comparing prices and planning / booking travel flat out. In booking a recent trip I was frusterated at the maps provided by all the major travel booking sites. All I could think is where is google maps? The interation on Kayak looks great. Thanks for the tip.


11   Zoe ~ 29 August 2006 at 10:41 AM

Exactly, Paul. I don’t have a mobile device, so I can’t comment on that, but I’ve been using Kayak for travel research for probably about a year. I have several email alerts set up with them. Some of their cool features: a graph of the fare history for a given trip, the ability to create your own Google map with multiple points and get airfare prices for those points by email. The only place where it seems to fall down is seaching for hotels — it often doesn’t display prices for the hotels. But the Google maps view of the hotels makes up for that!




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