Sunday, June 18, 2006

More Fun with the Web 

Way back when, I wrote a post titled The Oracle is In, which detailed some of the sites I file in my bookmarks under "Utilities". These are sites that I use to save time and money and make me marvel at the usefulness of the WWW.

Here are a few more I've added since the last post:

Kayak aggregates pricing from the major online travel sites, so you don't have to check them individually. Call it a "mega-aggregator" for travel prices.

It also has one of the tighest interfaces in the online travel space. Checkout the cool functionality that allows you to give a price range and then use sliders to broaden or narrow it. (For our dweebier readers, Kayak is a smokin' example of a Web 2.0 AJAX application.)

Next time you're doing travel planning, try taking Kayak out for a spin.

There's nothing new about Trip Advisor. It's been around for quite a while. But the truth of the matter is, no matter how much similar functionality seems to get duplicated in other online travel sites, Trip Advisor seems to provide just a little bit more of what I need both when I'm in a purely speculative mode, i.e., "Where might we go?" and when I'm trying to select an accomodation on a site like Kayak.

Trip Advisor aggregates newspaper articles about a destination, major guidebook information (i.e., Fodor & Frommers), and independent user reviews. There seem to generally be a greater quantity of reviews on Trip Advisor than on other sites, too.

I also enjoy that reviewers can post their vacation photos on the site; showing you what the location in choice looks like without any of the misrepresentations often generated by a professional photo shoot. For instance, check out the latest review for my friend Robin's nifty French hideaway, complete with a recent visitor's pix. That's definitely high on my list of places I need to get to!

My friend ShawnBoy just told me about this site. It's very cool. RedRoller does price aggregation for shipping services, e.g., FedEx vs. UPS. And hardcore eBayers will be glad to know that RedRoller fully integrates with eBay. How cool is that?!

As a long term denizen of The City, I hate to confess that I use HopStop. *sigh* But I do. It's not a frequent thing, but you know when your friend invites you to her cool comedy club down on Essex and you just don't hang in that 'hood much? ("Essex? As in Henry V?") That's when you need HopStop.
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