Announced last September, Touring Bird is a simple website that curates things travelers can do on a city-by-city basis. The Area 120 project will be shutting down next month as the Touring Bird team joins Google’s unified Travel initiative.
Area 120 is Google’s internal incubator that allows employees to start and work on a new project full-time. The team behind Touring Bird set out to build a “new tool that addresses the need for a centralized destination to plan your next vacation.”
Touring Bird helps you explore and compare prices and options across providers and makes it easier to book tours, tickets and activities in top destinations around the world. You can do all this in a single place—saving both research time and money. We also wanted to make travel more fun and memorable by making it easier to discover unique things to do.
Besides curating popular sites to visit and things to do, the crux of Touring Bird is directly listing ticketing and reservation providers. This simplifies the purchasing experience for travelers, while also providing a potential source of monetization for Google. Many free sites and activities are listed, with locals often contributing popular destinations.
It first launched with a Paris guide in early 2018 before expanding to 20 cities later that year. In early 2019, it grew to cover 200 destinations.
Visiting the site today announces the upcoming deprecation on November 17th. Saved activities will be available until then as Touring Bird is officially “folding into Google’s travel team.”
Today we are announcing that Touring Bird is successfully moving on from the experimental environment of Area 120 into Google, where the team will continue building compelling experiences for travelers and connecting them to tour and activity providers in destinations around the world.
Touring Bird shutting down ultimately makes sense given how Google Trips was killed in favor of a unified Google Travel offering, as well as Maps. Hopefully, this rich corpus of data and refined implementation lives on in other first-party products.
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