Saturday, August 13, 2011
Google Hotel Finder filters using your own search area!
While many web mapping sites are still trying to catch up with map interactivity, Google Hotel Finder has added the ability to create your own search area to filter hotels. Google has kept this feature very simple in that you only have control over 4 points in the search shape. This sounds limiting at first but they have followed up this limitation with the ability to add multiple shapes.
The interface is clean and easy to use for a consumer audience. The hotels in your search light up but ones outside of your search are muted so that the consumer knows they exists and are easily captured with a move of one of the shape handles. They also have a nice layer that highlights the most popular areas. As you zoom in the points on the map turn to pictures of the hotel and when clicked on goes to a detail page about that hotel.
They have limited to just the street map view which was probably intentional with the thought being that it makes a nice user experience displaying off the hotels points very clearly. Once zoomed in I found myself wanting to switch to aerial map view to actually see the hotel in question. Nevertheless I like the idea of keeping the interface very simple with as few widgets as possible. Taking this approach usually appeals to a broader audience.
I give Google Hotel Finder a +1 for this map experience.