Gliider – A Review

Siew Hoon (all round Goddess of Web in Travel)- asked me to review Gliider.

Screen shot 2010-03-30 at PM 12.44.50

A few days ago I was asked if I would test-drive the Gliider
travel-planning site.  Their
tagline, incidentally, is ‘Plan Funner Trips’ – make of that what you
will.  I’m already thinking I might
not be part of the target demographic.

Using Gliider works via a Firefox installation file that
adds a Gliider button to the browser toolbar.  This is available for both Firefox and IE and worked on my
Firefox running under Mac OS. 

Firing up Gliider I created a test trip to Jakarta,
Indonesia. The UI was slightly confusing to begin with and I was getting
strange error messages about invalid dates but it wasn’t long before I had my
trip set up.  Gliider then provides
nine folders covering different aspects of trip planning.  These included hotel, flights and
transport etc and there were two user-defined files that I thought was a nice
touch.

Gliider allows you to highlight and then drag and drop
content from a webpage into the respective folder.  This ‘web clipping’ functionality has been around for some
time now and has been packaged into applications, some of which I have heard
about but none has really caught my eye apart from perhaps
Evernote which is
more technology feature driven. Gliider has kept the functionally quite light
focusing more on making web clipping make sense from an activity standpoint.

The clipping worked quite well and Gliider handled the
formatting and the adding of images fairly slickly.  It was a little ‘buggy’ with new clippings not showing up
until I went out and then back into the folder, for example.  I also tried clipping just a URL link
but subsequent clicking on that link didn’t seem to open the linked page.  I’m niggling here a bit though because
for simple clipping of text and images Gliider worked well.

An application wouldn’t really be an application nowadays if
it didn’t pay its due homage to
Facebook and Gliider is no exception.  Using Facebook Connect I can get travel
advice from ‘people I know and trust’ as the text on the Gliider ‘Ask Around’
tab puts it.  Gliider then asks me
what question I want to ask and then posts this on my Facebook wall either for
everyone to see or just selected friends.

As well as sharing via the ubiquitous Facebook, I was able
to share my trip details with up to four other people using plain old simple
email.  I tried this with another
email address of mine and received an email notifying me that the other me was
planning a trip and that I too should download Gliider.  Incidentally the email subject line was
‘a funner trip’ which irked me again…Anyway, collaborators are able to see the
pooled content and add comments. 
Adding comments sort of makes sense but I’m guessing that in reality
travel companions would simply chat about their trip face to face or over the
phone.

The third tab on the Gliider app is for deals and
alerts.  Gliider have teamed up
with at least two third party sites and for my New York trip that I’d added I
had a load of hotel deals for New York from
travelzoo.com.  Gliider say that they plan to expand
the ‘deal’ functionality into other trip components in addition to just hotels.

You wont be surprised to hear that Gliider has its own
iPhone application that I downloaded for 3.60 USD equivalent.  I’m not sure what’s exactly de rigueur
nowadays when pricing apps but I know that I have some great ones that cost me
nothing and my paying for one that allows third parties to pump deals to me
based on privileged travel itinerary information flew in the face of what I
expect nowadays.

The iPhone application provided no additional functionality
over and above the browser plug-in although the interface was well designed –
good to look at and intuitive.  My
initial reaction to the iPhone app was that having all the clipped information
in my pocket when actually on my trip could be really useful, the visitor hours
of the New York Botanic Gardens for example.  It would be a bit like having my own personalized guide in
my pocket that my collaborators and I had populated with relevant content
before leaving for the trip.  At
the same time though I was thinking about all the missed opportunities around
linking my hotel address in Gliider to my maps and GPS for example and Gliider
proactively recommending me other stuff and talking me there based on my
profile and the recommendation of others.

I think Gliider is a nice idea and it takes some
technologies and functionality and packages then into an application area where
the whole idea of clipping content around a subject really makes sense.  The interface is generally good and the
navigation reasonably intuitive. I think there is huge potential to take
Gliider to somewhere really cool by incorporating location and context
awareness and further integrating it’s communication with Facebook and other
communities.  Let’s see how cool it
gets.
 
 

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