MakeMyTrip.com backed, online travel meta search engine, ixigo has launched its road travel app, On The Way on the Google Play Store. The company claims that it has over 3,00,000 places listed on the app.
We tried the app on our Micromax A54 Ninja device and found it pretty simple to use. One just has to enter a to and from destinations on the app home screen to get started. Clicking on the ‘Search on the Way’ button displays search results plotted on a Google map that can be filtered to display only petrol pumps, eateries, ATMs, liquor shops, attractions, hotels or hospitals/clinics that are available in their travel route. The search result can also be viewed as a list, by clicking on the list icon next to the search tab on top of the app.
The neat thing about the app is that it marks the location with their logo on Google Maps. This makes it easier to recognize locations even without filtering. Clicking on those pinned locations gives more info about it.
On further clicking on a desired location, the app offers detailed information like telephone numbers, address, place description and approximate pricing for two & cuisine served in case of restaurants. It also provides users with directions to the specific location. For this, the app redirects the user to Google maps or their preferred choice of the mapping app. The app copies the location’s longitude and latitude and pre fills on the ‘To’ field of the third party mapping app. One can then enter their preferred location manually or through GPS in the ‘From’ field.
Since the app relies on Google maps for its map view, it also covers utility information for both inter-city and intra-city information including state and national highways between destinations.
In essence, the app feels like Google map’s data with practical filters for road trips. These filters (a well-thought move) could be a good reason why users would find it more handy to use the app over searching for anything directly on the Google Maps app. We feel that they could have also included police stations for times of emergency and also the weather forecast for a particular route. It would also be useful to provide user rating options for each search result, thereby helping travelers decide on the best place to stop. Although, the app attempts to help travelers travelling by other modes of road transport, we feel it is not equipped to help them in its current form.
Note that all these information are readily available on apps such as Foursquare, Nokia’s Ovi Maps and Google Local but ixigo has filtered all these data points for better discoverability. Of late, we have noticed that Foursquare has moved away from being a Check-in only app to providing location based suggestions and local search engine, while Google has also started paying more attention to its Local business now allowing easier integration with Google Plus, its social networking site.
With inputs from Apurva Chaudhary