Google has announced that it will add support to purchase train tickets in Japan, Germany, Italy, and Spain while also incorporating sustainability features into its existing travel search options for hotels, and flights. The Alphabet-owned company also revealed that it will allow users to choose “eco-label” filters when searching for flights and hotels. The company has also announced that it will eventually integrate bus ticketing support with its search platform.
The company stated in a blog post that the launch of train ticket buying option on search in select countries is also an effort to nudge users to choose more emission-conscious travel options. When users in Japan, Germany, Italy, and Spain search for a route between two, or more destinations on Google or Google Flights, and a train is available for the same route, it will show up in results. A click on a direct link will then take users to the partner website to buy train tickets.
While the feature is currently limited to select countries, Google has confirmed that it plans to expand train ticketing option to other countries as it builds on railway partnerships.
Google has also announced new filters that narrow-down search results to “low emissions only” flights and “eco-certified” hotels. While users have been able to search for flights and hotels since 2011, the company first introduced carbon emission tracking in 2021, which included suggestions on fuel-efficient driving routes in Google Maps, as well as offering information about the carbon emissions associated with flights.
The Alphabet-owned firm said it has tied up with organisations like the US Green Building Council and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to monitor their databases that will be used to prioritise search results of eco-certified hotels. Eco-friendly labels for hotels are reliant on hotels choosing to self-report their sustainability practices, according to Google’s Travel Help support page.
Meanwhile, on Google Flights, users now have the option to filter results by “low-emissions only” or sort by CO2 emissions. Google says that it uses the European Environmental Agency (EEA) emission estimates with the most up-to-date algorithmic model from 2019.