Yahoo! Trip Planner to launch in UK by end of 2006

Yahoo! will take another step toward integrating a string of social media tools later this year when its Trip Planner product is launched in the UK.

Trip Planner was handed a full release in the US this week, following a prolonged beta version, but it is expected the tool will be introduced in the UK by the end of 2006.

The tool, which incorporates user-generated travel diaries, mapping and photo-sharing capability, is being seen a major push by the company to embrace so-called Web 2.0 and allow far higher levels of interaction between users.

Until now Yahoo! Europe had only revealed it would incorporate photo-sharing product Flickr and Yahoo! Answers into its travel portal.

It has since emerged that Trip Planner is likely to be rolled out across the European network by 2007.

A Yahoo! spokeswoman said: “Yahoo! Travel in Europe is planning to integrate a Trip Planner for the UK market later in the year with a view to expanding this across Europe in 2007.”

The full US version of Trip Planner has included various community tools such as interactive maps, integration with Yahoo! Farechase – the US version of Kelkoo – and a search function for users to locate other travel diaries.

Yahoo! Travel director in the US, Jasper Malcolmson, said: “The launch of Trip Planner further demonstrates Yahoo!’s overall commitment to innovation in the field of social search and social media.

“Just as other Yahoo! social search products like Flickr, Yahoo! Answers, and MyWeb have created a platform for sharing information between users, Trip Planner is about offering a way for travellers to benefit from sharing their travel experiences.”

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