This is interesting: help from friends on your travels! Kinda crowdsourcing in a way or as Mashable coins it:
Quick Pitch: A travel planning site sourcing recommendations from your social network.
Genius Idea: Gogobot is like a Pinterest for vacation travel. You can plan trips, read friends’ reviews, see their travel photos and create wish lists.
Travis Katz figures that between all your friends and contacts on Facebook, they’ve collectively traveled to tons of places. So when you’re planning a trip, why not collect that information in one place? “Almost any place you want to go, you probably know someone who’s been there,” Katz says.
Gogobot is one of the new integrated Facebook apps announced in January. It lets you plan a trip using advice, photos and check-ins from Facebook friends.
One of the cool things about Gogobot is you can verify people’s identities. Of course, you know your friends, but unlike other travel sites, if you read a review from a stranger, you can see that reviewer’s photos, see his face, know his name and connect on Facebook.
Katz came up with this idea while working for MySpace doing international business in London. He and his wife were living in London and constantly traveling around Europe. They would spend an entire weekend day planning a trip — trying to figure out where to stay, what places to see, where to eat and never knowing if the information on travel websites was up-to-date or trustworthy.
Katz says they would search for friends who had been to the destination they were planning to visit. He says he realized how valuable that information would be all in one place on the Web.
“Gogobot unlocks all of this rich information and make it accessible,” he says.
The most popular feature is the Gogobot passport, Katz says. (I had fun using this feature, too). You can add places you’ve been, photos you’ve taken and write reviews. You can browse through others’ passports and add those destinations to your trip. The plus icon means “add to my trip,” the check symbol means you’ve visited that place and clicking the heart will add the destination to your wish list.
Let’s say you’re interested in visiting Thailand. Click “destination” and you’ll see a world map. Click on the region you’d like to visit, in this case Thailand. The results show who’s visited Thailand — a total of 8,714 Gogobot users. The list begins with the people I’m connected with on Gogobot and then lists strangers. I clicked on the second contact listed, someone I know. I can see his profile and view the countries he’s traveled to by map or list (Map is easiest if they’ve been to a lot of places). He left a photo of a place he recommends visiting in Thailand: Phang Nga Bay. I can click on the heart icon on this photo and add this destination to my wish list.
Check-ins on Facebook are also grouped in the passport to create a comprehensive profile of the places you’ve visited. This way, you can capture the smallest details, like where you went to get gelato in Venice.
Katz brought up a good point about check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare — that information gets washed away so quickly. After 30 minutes or so, it’s buried in the news feed. On Gogobot, the information is captured in your profile.
“A lot of people have described it as a Pinterest for travel,” he says.
The Gogobot mobile app for iOS launched in October. With the current app, you can take trip plans on-the-go and create digital postcards. It makes it easy to access phone numbers of the hotels where you’re staying, addresses and other information from travelers on the app. A new version of the app will be available early next week. The new version will also let you explore more than 60,000 destinations worldwide and find popular places.
“Everything on the list is personalized for you,” he says. “Results are different for everyone…friends’ recommendations will show up first in cities you’re visiting.”
Gogobot attracted significant major funding. The company raised $19 million in venture capital money from Battery Ventures (involved in Angie’s List and Groupon), Google’s Eric Schmidt’s Endeavor fund and the GM of Squares.
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