Lonely Planet tests trip planning Google Wave app

LONDON - Guidebook publisher Lonely Planet has been trialling a trip planning tool through Google Wave, Google's new group communication platform.

Google Wave, which was made available to around 100,000 beta testers at the end of September, allows participants to have interactive discussions in real time.

The Lonely Planet application, called Trippy, loads a map of a location that contains Lonely Planet recommendations and reviews.

Using a simple drag-and-drop interface, users can easily select points of interest and assign dates and times to them to quickly create rich itineraries for their upcoming trips.

Chris Boden, Lonely Planet's director of mobile and innovation, said: "The Trippy gadget turns trip planning into a collaborative activity, enabling a group of users to create itineraries together in real time."

Lonely Planet is also improving its digital offering with new e-books for the Kindle, which Amazon starts shipping internationally this week.

Matt Goldberg, Lonely Planet CEO, said: "Lonely Planet is excited to make over 600 travel guides available by book or chapter from Australia to Zanzibar to Kindle customers around the world.

"Our goal is to be an indispensable source of information to travellers wherever they are and consumers can now pack as many Lonely Planet guides as they want into Kindle's 10.2 ounces and download new guides wirelessly while travelling around the world."

Lonely Planet is also making augmented reality products available for Google Android handsets, launching a series of Compass Guide applications to highlight points of interest in cities.

Augmented reality is new technology that melds real-life views with overlaid digital information.

Android's GPS capability determines the exact location a person is standing, while an internal compass determines the direction the user is looking.

The Compass Guide applications are currently only available in the US and are sold via download from the Android Market for US$4.99.

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