Expedia is Testing Natural Language Travel Search

Kevin May of Tnooz reports, "It’s not just startups trying to capture the mood for developing natural language and semantic search in travel – Expedia is quietly working on its own platform. The project is being run out of a new research and development department within Expedia Affiliate Network and is currently aimed at providing partner sites with the early stages of natural language search using the mounds of data collected elsewhere around the Expedia portfolio. A sandbox site, YourVisit, is also up and running for testing (EAN admits it is a bit rough around the edges, but is in place purely for demonstration and beta purposes)."

May goes on, "The idea behind the service is simple: provide a better, more human way of searching for travel products but using the vast myriad of data behind the scenes across the Expedia empire to return highly relevant results to users. Expedia says the system is being trialled with a number of partner sites through the EAN and could be available for deployment across the network in the coming months. 'Replicating the human experience', according to EAN, a team fronted by chief technology officer Eachan Fletcher and director of R&D Christopher Lynch, is just one side of the project. This allows users to pretty much type whatever they like into the search box to receive results."

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Image: Courtesy Expedia