Google Translate Adds Phrasebook To Save Your Most Common Phrases

Google Translate now saves items to PhrasebookGoogle continues to be one of the most innovative companies in the world, developing everything from wearable technology to self-driving cars. And while they’re incredibly busy inventing the future, the Internet search giant also continue to upgrade some of their existing products and services, bringing useful new features to the tools we already use.

Take, for example, Google Translate, the fantastic service that gives us the ability to translate text from more than 50 languages. The web-based version is indispensable for reading foreign websites, while the mobile app is great for translating while on the go. Both versions offer the ability to speak the phrases out loud, which can be a handy feature for those of us who happen to be linguistically challenged. The service can be very helpful for anyone looking to learn a new language too, providing help with pronunciation, spelling and more.

Recently Google Translate was updated with a new feature called Phrasebook, which actually lets you save your most commonly used sentences for quick access in the future. To add something to your Phrasebook simply type in the text you want to use and when the phrase appears in its translated form a small star will appear on the screen. Clicking or tapping on that star will then add it to the Phrasebook for quick referral later on. It doesn’t get any simpler than that, but Google has conveniently provided us with step-by-step instructions none the less.

Frequent users of the Google Translate service will no doubt appreciate this addition, particularly if they are using the mobile app while traveling. It can definitely save a lot of time if you find yourself regularly asking the same questions. In the age of cloud services and account syncing, I would have liked to have seen my personal Phrasebook saved across multiple devices, but perhaps that is something we’ll get in a future update. It would be great to type in important sentences on my laptop and have them automatically appear on my smartphone as well.

Travelers will love Google Translate as it obviously applies nicely to what we do. But the addition of the Phrasebook will no doubt come in handy too, saving time and effort while visiting a foreign land.

[Photo Credit: Google]

ZocDoc Helps You Find Doctors, Make Appointments While Traveling

ZocDoc helps you find medical assistance while travelingThere is nothing more frustrating than having to seek medical assistance while traveling. It is bad enough to have something unexpected come up while you’re at home, but at least your personal doctor is generally only a phone call away. But while you’re on the road it can be difficult to find a specialist and booking an appointment can be a real challenge.

That’s where ZocDoc can come in very handy. The service, which is available on both the web and as an Android and iOS app, allows users to quickly and easily find doctors, dentists and other specialists based on location. The website version of ZocDoc searches based on zip code while the mobile apps use the smartphone’s built in GPS chip to locate options that are near by. Searches can be narrowed by looking for specific specialties (allergist, cardiologist, orthodontist, etc.) and you can even add a search criteria based on the insurance provider you’ll be using.

When the search is complete, ZocDoc presents all the available options in a clean and easy to read format that includes addresses, reviews and a listing of the next available appointment. Tapping or clicking on an open date and time allows the user to then quickly and easily book that appointment.

Putting ZocDoc through its paces, I was impressed with just how simple the interface was both on the website and the iPhone app. It really is very easy to use the service to locate a doctor. Booking an appointment couldn’t have been any easier either and the whole process took just a minute or two to complete.

For now, ZocDoc only works in the U.S. but for travelers who frequently move about the country, this could be an incredibly useful app. If you find yourself frequently on the road and occasionally needing medical assistance of some type, this service will come in very hand. While not expressly built for travelers, it certainly is a resource that we’ll all be happy to have if we ever need it.

[Photo Credit: U.S. Airforce via Wikimedia]

Delta’s New ‘Fly Delta’ App Lets You See The World Under Your Airplane


Ever dream of flying in a glass bottom jet? That technology may not yet be available, but Delta Air Lines‘ new iPad app might just be the best simulation.

The Fly Delta app for iPad was released yesterday as part of Delta’s new $140 million commitment to technology, which includes upgrades to its website, mobile apps and airport kiosks. The app includes new tools to ease the travel experience, from booking your flight to advance check-in to figuring out what’s next on your itinerary.

But the app’s most exciting feature is the “Glass Bottom Jet,” which allows passengers connected to Delta’s in-flight Wi-Fi service to view visuals of the ground below the aircraft, enhanced with maps, social networks and Internet content. Read about the history of Mount Rushmore as you fly through South Dakota, check out photos of the Grand Canyon over Nevada or reach out to friends as you pass their homes. For geography geeks, it’s a pretty nifty way to pass time in flight.

An improved Fly Delta app for iPhone was also released yesterday, which includes iPhone 5 support and integration with Apple’s Passbook feature. An improved Android app is scheduled to be released later this year.

[Photo Credit: Delta]

Roamz iPhone App Will Help You Discover Things To Do At Home Or On The Road

The Roamz app uses socal media to suggest hotspotsIf you’ve traveled with any kind of regularity, I’m sure at some point or another you’ve found yourself in a new city with some spare time on your hands but unsure of what you should do. A guidebook can sometimes be of assistance, but they’re often out of date even before they are published, and asking a local can usually yield results, although they routinely view their city much differently than a visitor. What we need in these instances is something that is not only current but also easy to access, providing us with suggestions for activities, good places to eat, interesting local shops and other hotspots. That is exactly what the Roamz app for iPhone and Android aims to do, adding in a nice social twist to the mix.

Roamz is a simple to use, location-sensitive app that has been designed from the ground up to help people discover what is happening around them. The interface is clean and simple, providing a basic search bar that allows us to enter terms like “pizza” or “live music,” with results returned in quick fashion. Your most recent searches are saved so that they can be quickly accessed again, while suggestions for common search terms are displayed as graphical tiles along the bottom of the screen. Tapping one of them displays nearby results for the specific category with some basic information about the restaurant, shop or activity itself. Those results also show the location of the event (which can be opened in the maps app for navigation) and give options to visit the venue’s website or dial its phone number.

If you’ve owned a smartphone over the past couple of years, you’ve probably seen similar apps. But where Roamz sets itself apart is that rather than simply searching a database of local addresses sorted by category it actually scans social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to determine what places or events are getting the most buzz around you. This means you’re not only receiving info about a great place to eat, but you could also learn about special activities that are taking place near by. This social aspect of the search gives Roamz a more timely quality that isn’t found elsewhere.The app will also allow you to save a list of your favorite locations and it will automatically alert you to special activities at those places whenever you’re in the neighborhood. Those suggestions can come in handy when you’re looking for things to do both at home or on the road. Not surprisingly, Roamz also connects with popular social media outlets, allowing you to share your own activities with friends and family.

That’s the basic premise of this app and in practice it works quite well. I’ve used it to find new places to eat in my hometown, as well as to discover things to do when visiting another city. The social aspects of Romaz offer a nice twist over similar apps, as you get to see what others near you are saying about the hotspots. The app even displays images that have been shared through social media, giving users an opportunity to see the place long before they ever visit it.

The app is completely free and is available on both Apple’s app store and the Google Play store. It is definitely one that will come in handy while in your home city, but it truly struts its stuff while traveling elsewhere.

[Photo credit: Roamz]


Discover great places nearby on Roamz from Roamz App on Vimeo.

Apple’s Passbook Gives Us A Glimpse Of The Future Of Air Travel

Passbook for iPhone promises to change airline tickets foreverA few weeks back, to much fanfare, Apple released a new version of their popular iPhone and an updated version of iOS, the operating system that powers the device. Dubbed iOS 6, the latest edition of the software as been a bit of a mixed bag for most iPhone users, who now enjoy improved social networking integration, better messaging and a smarter Siri, but have been cursed with Apple’s new sub-par maps app.

Lost in the hype of the shiny new device and the kerfuffle that has been the maps fiasco, was the inclusion of a new app called Passbook. The app promises to be an electronic wallet for all of your digital coupons, membership and gift cards, movie tickets and boarding passes. Passbook collects those items from other apps, emails or direct download through the Safari browser and conveniently keeps them all well organized in a single place. When it comes time to use one of your coupons or tickets, you simply have the cashier scan a bar code on the screen of your phone and you’re on your way.

That’s not all Passbook can do, however, as it is also time and location aware. That means that it will automatically display relevant passes on your phone’s lock screen based on where you are. So if you walk into a Starbucks it will automatically display any active gift cards and as you arrive at the airport, the app is already placing the relevant boarding pass on your screen. It will even alert you of any changes to your flight time or departure gate, helping to ensure you don’t miss it.Digital boarding passes are not really all that new or innovative, as a number of airlines have been using them for a few years now. But Passbook makes it a breeze to collect and keep track of those passes and its inclusion as a pre-installed app on all iPhones means that more people will start using it on a regular basis. We all know that once a technology gains more mass market appeal, more companies will support it, which means Apple’s Passbook will probably be a gateway to better paperless options when traveling in the future.

The app is already supported by United and American Airlines, and we’re told that Delta will jump on the bandwagon soon too. But airlines aren’t the only ones that are quickly adding support for the new system. Major League Baseball now offers Passbook-based tickets for games and online movie ticketing service Fandango sends its passes to the app as well. The best part is, most businesses are already equipped to scan Passbook entries, which isn’t the case with similar services on other phones that employ Near-Field Communications technology for their approach to the digital wallet.

As technology evolves, there may soon come a day when you won’t need to leave home with anything other than your smartphone. That day probably isn’t as far off as we think either.