The 'shape' feature (i-techknow.com)

In an effort to compete with Bing's recent travel monopoly, Google launched "Hotel Finder" to help users find the perfect hotel.

What sets it apart from other sites, according to Google, is its ability to narrow down your search like nowhere else on the Web.

You can enter a location, check-in and check-out dates, a price range and a class, as well as select user ratings and view historical average rates of the area. You can also search around the area using a "shape" that outlines the exact region you would like your hotel in. The shape can be re-adjusted as you zoom in, and can be reconfigured based on price and other factors.

"Finder" pulls information from Google Places and Google Maps to give images, reviews, rules and regulations of your hotel. You can also use the shortlist feature to save results for easy viewing, comparing and organizing later.


Search options (mashable.com)

A visual map of the area highlights the most popular tourist locations and allows you to specify which areas you plan on visiting. Hotels are then found based on proximity to your exact destination. Users can also 'flip through' different hotel results for an easier browsing experience.

The shape technology comes from the Boston-based tech company ITA, which Google bought for $700 million in 2010. The company organizes airline data including prices and rates, delays, availability and flight times. It also allows you to compare competing flights and prices.

Though Hotel Finder is still in its experimental phase and search options are limited to inside the United States, the multiple amenities and flexibility of the site firmly plant Google into the business of travel.