For those who are not aware, dopplr is (in their own words) “a service for smart travellers. Dopplr members share personal and business travel plans privately with their networks, and exchange tips on places to stay, eat and explore in cities around the world and tripit is (weird, their about page does not have a one liner that describes their service, so in my words) a service that allows you to combine all aspects of a trip into one single itinerary.
I think these two services need to merge. Before I provide my reasons let me talk a little bit about how I use the two services.
It provides me the ability to track where I have been in the past and where I am going to in the future. It provides a nice visualisation using a map of locations I have visited and visiting. They have added features about where I could eat and what I could do when visiting a place but I have never used that yet. I also have the ability to know what my friends are doing and if I know anyone who is travelling to a city same as the one I am travelling to.
Given that there is so much location information here, they also update my fireeagle (which in turn tells many other services) with my location whenever I head on a trip. This is great, LBS is the way of the future. If my location can be auto updated (based on my privacy settings) from the one source to myriad of services I use then the data I get access to can be more relevant to my needs at a give point in time.
The only problem I have, and I only realised this today, is that it has no concept around when my trip starts and end. It knows the date but not the time. I am heading to Zurich today, I land in Zurich in the evening but it has already told fire-eagle that I am in Zurich (when I am sitting in London typing this rant).
Let me first say I LOVE TripIt.
Planing a trip generally involves booking flights/trains, cars, hotels, attractions, tours etc etc. We tend to use many vendors for these needs and each vendor provides an itinerary in some format (mostly via email). Once you have all these booked, you look for maps , weather etc etc.
If you get a TripIt account, you can forward all your itineraries to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will parse the text and collate all the information automaitcally for you. They keep adding support for different vendors, but as far as I am aware most of the major vendors are supported. Allowing you to print ONE itinerary which contains all your travel details. AWESOME!!!
Given there is so much location information here the do not do much with it at all (at least I am not aware of any LBS services around my trips).
Why should they merge?
Firstly, I am not affiliated with either organisation. I have no vested interests in either organisation.
There are clear synergies here on the services they offer and lots of wins for both organisations as each lack features that the other has. I would love for dopplr to be able to understand when I start my trip and when I end it. I would love TripIt to start visualising my trips better.
I would love for either/both of them to provide me the ability to say I am going to do a road trip while I am in Bordeaux from A to B and have it plotted so I can start generating a map of all the places I have been to and driven around or walked around without having to carry a GPS, collect tracks and upload them etc etc etc.
Lets face it, most non-tech savy users do not want to deal with GPS devices, nor dot hey know how to. I am geek and a developer and my geo-tagging of photo’s sux because there are to many steps involved. There is only ONE SLR out there which can tag my photo’s as I take them and even that is not with a integrated GPS device.
[Ok, that was slightly off topic, but the point about making things easy to increase adoption is important.]
Of course, they don’t have to merge to provide these features. I know dopplr does have an email facility and also a twitter facility for adding trips that I don’t use much. TripIt could easily add fire eagle integration.
In my head though, having one service that does it all would be so much beneficial (for all concerned) then multiple one’s that do a little bit of this but not that etc.
ps: Yes that was a rant! 🙂