Google Search Update Gives iOS 6's Passbook Feature A Run For Its Money

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For those thinking about holiday travel, the smartphone is becoming just as important as their passport. (Youtube/AP) | Youtube/AP

For some travellers, the smartphone is as indispensable as the suitcase. Apps are the news maps and mobile operating systems are taking over the role of boarding passes. Case in point: Wednesday's update to Google Now, Google's voice-search function, brings a few additions that the company is touting "will make holiday travel easier."

According to Mobilesyrup, the update will allow users' smartphones to automatically draw up boarding passes after checking into an airport. Google Now works based on users' search history and personal data to pull in info displayed on a series of cards. Things like commute times, sports scores and appointments show up when activated but the update now adds travel-friendly info the weather in potential travel destination, nearby attractions, currency conversions and translations, writes Baris Gultekin, Google's product management director in the official Android blog.

But for some smartphone users, Google's playing catch-up to Apple and the features offered on iOS 6, the tech giant's mobile operating system. The company's 'passbook' feature has allowed for users to bring up boarding passes, among other things, for airlines since September. According to Jaunted, Apple's 'passbook' works for 10 airlines, Air Canada being the only Canadian airline to sign up for now. Google on the other hand only has United Airlines on board for their project, though the company says support for other airlines is coming, but they're not naming names.

Passbook, on the other hand will be getting support from Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways in the coming months, reports the Australian Business Traveller.

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