Travel search engine Kayak.com says it has raised $196 million in a round of venture funding. At least $150 million of that will go toward the purchase of rival SideStep. The company will use some of those funds to expand internationally, and hopes to take on Expedia as the No. 1 travel site online.
Kango, launching in private beta today, is yet another travel recommendation site. This one's special sauce is its "understanding" of the travel lingo, so it can turn out better advice for you.
For example, if you're searching for a family-friendly hotel, Kango will return results that mention "kids." It will also give you hotels with pools, since it knows that families often go swimming on vacation. This type of word-mapping is becoming common in new specialized commerce sites (see also Snooth for wine, and Retrevo for tech products). The site also displays abstracts based … Read more
As a user of several Web photo hosting services, I've settled on Flickr, and one of the things it's really good for is loading a bunch of vacation pictures into a set and sending a link to that to my family members. That's about where the experience ends, though. There's not a built-in blogging tool, or a simple way to set up your shots with a lot of narration short of writing extensive captions. Many folks I know simply opened up WordPress or Blogger accounts and started up a disposable travel blog for such a purpose. … Read more
Read the full story on Popsci.com: The Hypersonic Age is near.
Dopplr, which I briefly mentioned making an appearance at O'Reilly's Where 2.0 conference back in late May, has opened up its doors today after being in private beta for the last seven months. The service is designed to let friends and other small groups share their travel plans with one another. In an ideal world, if all your friends used Dopplr, you'd be able to see when they're in town, or elsewhere to coordinate things like meet-ups or shared accommodations.
To get going with Dopplr, you simply need to plug in the dates and location of your next vacation or business trip. This information gets slotted onto your profile as a Dopplr trip, and assuming you've made friends on the service, they'll be allowed to see your schedule and visa versa. In order to add your buddies, you can invite them one at a time, or make use of your contact list from Gmail, Flickr, Twitter, or with an HCard microformat import.
Like Facebook's news feed, Dopplr keeps a running tab on your activity and that of your friends, so you can view it in one big stream. For those not inclined to check on the site every day, Dopplr is set up by default to send you weekly newsletters with your friends' latest trip additions and journal entries, along with a list of other Dopplr users who are visiting your home city. There's also a mobile version that gives you quick access to your slated trips, as well as the option to add a new one. In many ways, it's similar to the iPhone version of Google Calendar, albeit with a little less panache.
In many ways Dopplr attempts to solve a problem that could be managed with existing solutions given a little elbow grease on the part of users. For example, my family uses Google calendar, and we've got a separate calendar set up just for trips we want to share with one another. What sets Dopplr apart is its social side, which has a number of small conveniences thrown in for both privacy and keeping track of others. One of them is frequency, which shows you which of your friends visits a place the most. You can also see if you're visiting any of your friend's hometowns, and if they'll be there when you are--which can help you avoid those "oh no, we were in the same place and didn't meet up?" moments.
Personal travel aggregation service TripIt has received a very important update this morning. It's now able to sync up travel plans that are sent its way to a handful of popular calendaring tools including Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Plaxo, Outlook, or any other service that can handle URL events. What this means for you as the traveler, is that if you're sent a change notice from whatever travel service you booked with, TripIt will spit that out to both your e-mail and your linked-up calendars, saving you the bother of having to manually go in and make changes.… Read more
Doc Brown invented a flux capacitator after he knocked his head on a bathroom sink in Back to the Future. As everyone knows, it's the most important part of the time machine that allowed him to wreak havoc over many decades.
Now the item is available for public consumption on pre-order from Things From Another World for $220. As seen on Uncrate, it has lighting effects that really looks indistinguishable from the original.
And you don't even need to fall off a toilet to get one.
(Source: Crave Asia)
Major air carriers are opposing a Transportation Security Administration plan to collect the birth dates and genders of airplane travelers, along with their full names, saying the added data collection will create needless hassles.
While the new data collection could add to the annoyance of air travel for the masses of air passengers, the move would pose a special challenge for those of us for whom the question of gender is more complicated than checking one of the two boxes.
Now, I fly a lot. And while some people may see me as female, and others as male, the fact … Read more
I fly internationally at least once per quarter. Given that flight time tends to be some of my most productive time, I need to ensure I have enough juice to get me over the Atlantic without missing a beat on email or, even more importantly, that Arsenal match I previously ripped to my Mac's hard drive with Elgato's EyeTV 250.
I used to use Electrovaya's PowerPad, but it doesn't (or didn't) support the MacBook Pro. So when I started looking around for a replacement, I discovered Batterygeek's Portable Power Station. It's bulkier than the Electrovaya battery, though more compact, and doesn't last as long (eight or nine hours, depending on how CPU-intensive my activity, compared to 10 to 14 hours). Having said that, Batterygeek has come out with new models that last as long, if not longer, than Electrovaya's (one goes for over 20 hours).… Read more
I'm saddened to report that Southwest Airlines has effectively shut down Pass-a-matic, the service that would act as your proxy to retrieve the coveted A-1 boarding pass. The service, which I raved about two months ago, would take your reservation number and use it to jump on the Southwest Web site precisely 24 hours before your flight's departure time to grab the good seats.