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February 22, 2009

Google Maps and WorldMate Live

Last week, we posted a quick tutorial on using WorldMate Live's free mapping facilities. We got dozens of responses from people who want this to integrate with the Google Maps mobile application that they are using (http://www.google.com/mobile/default/maps.html). Lots of people are using this application, either because it's better than what came with their devices, or because the built-in app (e.g. BlackBerry Maps) does not have content for where they live - e.g. Australia.

It is our goal at WorldMate to support all popular mapping apps and in fact we spent a lot of time trying to get an API for Google Maps that will allow us to integrate with it. Alas, it seems like the good people at Google are just not interested in this extra traffic we can provide them. There is no Google Maps for mobile API as yet for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Symbian. And given the fact many developers have been asking for this for years, it's pretty clear that is a policy with Google. Whether this stems from content licensing issues (a frequent issue with mapping licenses) or just competitive policy we don't know, although we assume the latter.

What can users do?  One thing you can try is petition Google. They have a Help Forum where you can post a question. Perhaps if enough people did it, they will enable this.

Additional suggestions? We'd love to hear from you. Post your comment below.

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Your website seems to cover only the mobile side of your company. There is no travel side to it whatsoever. No travel advise and ideas for the destination location.

Also, Maybe you can incorporate a Worldmate travel genius, similar to the iTune Genius that can recommend travel related services and activities.

On a Google related note, how about a new feature to have travel itineraries available as a subscribe-able calendar feed. This would allow users to see their itinerary details in Google Calendar or any other tool that can subscribe to iCal formatted calendars. With Google Calendars, I could then share my itinerary details in calendar form with my family, colleagues, etc.

WorldMate is a great travel service and one of the few valuable services for Blackberries. One unfortunatelly glarring ommision is the lack of a car service feature with basic features including: Car Service Name, Reservation Number, Pick Up Location and Phone Number for the Service. It'd be difficult to scrape this information as most don't provide confirmations consistently by e-mail format but the high travel crowds that likely gravitate to your service / apps likely use this kind of service a lot. Additionally trying to use other options (e.g. public transportation) is inconsistently accurate even when it's imput on your website manually. This needs to get fixed if you expect people to pay for your service.

I like WorldMate, and have being a gold subscriber for over a year, and I have VERY simple request that will be very useful for international travelers, is to have one of the clocks in UTC (GMT) time. Please note that because summer clock changes this is not always the time in the UK. My current workaround is have one clock in Reykjavik that AFAIK does not do do daylight time changes.
Many meetings conferences and international flights are scheduled using UTC to eliminate any ambiguity.

--ga

Nice mapping system, but the location information for BSL airport is off by quite a way..

Worldmate is brilliant and a fixture on my phone. But having just switched from a blackberry to an iPhone - please please please can we have the ability to create/edit/manage itineraries. Also, please add the sync to calendar as it does on the bb. This is a must for me otherwise my admin simply forgets and sticks meetings in when I am travelling. (Yeah, I know - get a new admin!)

Thanks for the kind words. Hopefully you'll get it pretty soon.

I can't get google maps to print the actual map along with the directions. I checked the show original map view box and still nothing ... how can I get it to print the map?

I have spent a lot of time surfing the Worldmate web site and reading the FAQ's, but I still cannot figure out how to make the hotel reservation feature of Worldmate to work for me, and continue to have a lot of problems. These are my issues:

1. There is conspicuously a very limited amount of information available on the Worldmate.com site regarding the procedures, terms, and conditions associated with the hotel reservation feature of Worldmate. Specifically, I need to know how to make a hotel reservation without prepaying 100% of the hotel room and how to subsequently cancel or modify a resevation if my business travel plans change.

2. Worldmate.com says it is OK to cancel hotel reservations, and it does not charge a cancellation fee, although it must pass through cancellation fees from its partners. I am OK with this. But I still cannot figure out how to cancel or modify an existing hotel reservation.

3. In general, my company policy forbids prepaying hotel reservations. When using 3rd-party web sites like Hotels.com or Expedia.com, hotel rooms are frequently offered for less money using the "prepay" option, but I never select this option. When using Worldmate.com, I made two reservations, only to find the entire amount of each reservation was immediately billed in full to my credit card - - and without asking my approval for this charge! Major problem, especially for hotel rooms booked well in advance.

4. Next issue. I recently made a hotel reservation and stayed at a Holiday Inn Select. Since the room was prepaid without my approval, when I checked out the hotel could not offer me a receipt. They said the reservation, "was entirely prepaid via Expedia." Again, my company policy requires me to submit original hotel recepts in order to be reimbursed, and I have no receipt and have no idea how to acquire one now. Help! I'm OK with the amount billed, but I need a legitimate receipt showing the daily room rate & taxes.

5. I am a member of several hotel frequent-guest programs, which entitle me to free room upgrades and various ammenities. These frequent-guest numbers can be provided upon check-in, but by that time the upgrade room(s) and ammenities have not been pre-arranged and/or available. The right time to submit hotel frequent-guest membership numbers is at the time of the initial reservation; this way, the hotel knows that an elite-level guest will be arriving, and they can make the appropriate arrangements in advance.

6. A second hotel reservation I made was for an ALoft hotel in Dallas, for a future trip in April 2010. This reservation was entirely prepaid, and I want to cancel it. I have already made another reservation at the same ALoft hotel for the exact same dates at less than one-half the price charged by Worldmate/Expedia (I got the room for $99 / night on the ALoft web site, WITHOUT any prepay requirement), but I cannot figure out how to cancel the reservation made via Worldmate.com. The charge for $773.97 is already on my Amex card! I need to get this credited ASAP. How do I do this?

7. The hotel reservation confirmation numbers that Worldmate provides must be internal-to-Expedia confirmation numbers. These numbers are NOT recognized by the hotel. So when I call the hotel, they want the reservation number, and the number I have is meaningless to them.

8. I would like to use the hotel reservation feature of Worldmate, but to do so I need more flexibility. For starters, business travellers need to make adjustments (charnge arrival/departure dates) and be able to enter frequent-guest numbers. Second, there must be a way to make reservations without prepaying the hotel room. Third, all business travellers I know of require hotel receipts showing the daily room rate, breaking out all taxes and fees.

Any advice/comments on the Worldmate.com hotel reservation process would be much-appreciated.

Douglas Engelbart developed the concept of hypertext long before Berners-Lee and CERN. It became the core of the URL, which itself is the core of the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee does acknowledge Engelbart's contribution, but only barely. In March, 1986,

Worldmate is brilliant and a fixture on my phone. But having just switched from a blackberry to an iPhone - please please please can we have the ability to create/edit/manage itineraries. Also, please add the sync to calendar as it does on the bb. This is a must for me otherwise my admin simply forgets and sticks meetings in when I am travelling. (Yeah, I know - get a new admin!)

I have an iteniary from one of the listed travel companies Carlsonwagonlit. I forward this to trips@worldmate.com and keep getting an email reply that they don't understand the email. What info do they take of the subject line of the email to update the worldmate system...this is frustrating.

Perhaps this is one of the most interesting blogs that I have ever seen. Interesting article, Funny comment. Keep it up!

strategy, leadership and creativity! these three qualities that are denoted in items as well, for me the post I just read is spectacular, I congratulate them. this is a spectacular calendar.

You may remenber the four proverbs:
Nothing seek, nothing find.
Not to advance is to go back.
Nothing is so necessary for travelers as languages.
Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child.

Good post,This was exactly what I needed to read today! I am sure this has relevance to many of us out there.

The auberge catch acceptance numbers that Worldmate provides accept to be internal-to-Expedia acceptance numbers. These numbers are NOT accustomed by the hotel. So if I alarm the hotel, they wish the catch number, and the amount I accept is absurd to them.

This google application are more comprehensive than what you can get from your devices. It's more detailed.
I hope it can be integrated to google maps mobile. Thank you for your concern.

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I use world mate to check my travel timezones and web check-ins about airports. While google places is handy for navigating through cities.

This is a good post. I'm definitely going to look into it.Really very useful tips are provided here.thank you so much.Keep up the good works.

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