Google Labs is testing on an experimental service which could probably pave the way for Google’s entry into the tourism vertical. The feature, called City Tours, is a Google Maps application which provides suggestions on what to sites to see when you search for specific cities in the US, like Tampa, Florida.
City Tours also maps out specific cities you’ve searched and provides minute-by-minute travel schedule. An interesting tidbit, City Tours includes even less popular cities (SEL looks at a small town Kennewick tour as well as international services like apartments in Kiev).
Since City Tours is still in Google Labs, the suggested itineraries and tours might be inaccurate at times. But if you don’t mind some of these inconsistencies, City Tours could be pretty helpful helping you plan out which places you’re going to visit in a particular city.
Likewise, with tourism being such a massive money generating vertical (especially once the economy rebounds) this tool certainly has the potential to become another successful Google product. Business establishments could either create their own itineraries for the city where their businesses are located or Google can offer this as another avenue for business advertisements; like souvenir shops, cafes & kiosks, guides and the occasional foot masseuse.
But of course, we could not discount the fact that being a tourism/travel related tool, Google is taking on this niche not just for the sake of trying it out, and don’t forget that travel is one of Bing’s strengths.