New Google Trips travel app makes planning vacations a breeze

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Google Trips puts travel guide for 200 cities in your pocket.
Google Trips puts travel guide for 200 cities in your pocket.
Photo: Google

Planning where to go and what sights to see can take the fun out of a vacation, but Google’s new app is ready to handle all the heavy lifting for you.

Google Trips debuted today on both iOS and Android devices, putting a travel guide in your pocket everywhere you go.

Trips instantly plans each day of your vacation with just a few taps. You set the agenda based on what types of spots you’d like to visit and Google Trips shows you a variety of plans that hit up the most popular local gems.

Win it Wednesday: 5 Herschel bags to send your old luggage packing [Deals]

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These five bags by Herschel will put your old luggage to shame, and now's your chance to get them for free.
These five bags by Herschel will put your old luggage to shame, and now's your chance to get them for free.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Herschel is just about the top name in travel gear today, making bags and luggage that are as tough as they are good-looking. Let’s be honest — they put your suitcases and backpacks to shame. Premium bags like these go for a premium price, that is unless you enter this massive giveaway. This Herschel travel bundle includes five items that would normally cost a pretty penny, from suitcases to duffels and backpacks and more, but if you can enter today for a chance to get the whole shebang for free.

Your iPhone has traveled the distance of the moon and back to reach you

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That iPhone in your pocket is much more well-traveled than you are.
That iPhone in your pocket is much more well-traveled than you are.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The various parts in your iPhone have traveled a great distance to reach your pocket — combined, they’ve gone almost as far as to the moon and back.

That fancy Touch ID button on the front of your iPhone 6s, for example, inhabits a 12,000-mile footprint alone, what with the artificial sapphire crystal (originating in Changsha, China) that’s bonded to a metal ring (transported 550 miles from Jiangsu province) and then shipped to a semiconductor plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (another 1,000 miles).

The miles continue to rack up via parts sourced in Europe and shipped to Japan, then finally brought back to Foxconn in China. And that’s just a single, small, unsexy part of the iPhone.

New use of 3D Touch lets you zoom through online maps

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Poison Maps exposes more potential in 3D Touch.
Photo: Poison Maps

The developers of the Poison Maps app figured out a new way to implement 3D Touch that goes above and beyond what we’re used to seeing. They use two patent-pending gestures called “context zooming” and “context panning.” The first lets you quickly see the surrounding area of a particular location you’re zoomed in on without leaving that location, while the latter lets you move around in the surroundings and effortlessly focus in on somewhere new.

These gestures work using long presses. Since 3D Touch can sense varying amounts of force, Poison Apps cleverly uses the technology to adjust the zoom based on how hard you press.

High-tech megaphone will translate your speech in real-time

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An airport worker holds the Megaphoneyaku, which can broadcast messages in three languages.
An airport worker holds the Megaphoneyaku, which can broadcast messages in three languages.
Photo: Tohru Watanabe/Mainichi Newspapers

A blaring megaphone is an effective way to get people’s attention. But what if the people in the room speak a multitude of languages?

A Tokyo airport is trying to solve the language gap with international travelers with a megaphone that lets the user communicate in three different languages. A worker speaking one of three languages, Chinese, Korean or English, can have their message broadcast in the other two.

This charging hub is like having a tiny R2-D2 for your mobile devices [Deals]

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The Twist+ World Charging Station can charge up to five devices at once from a single outlet in 150 different countries.
The Twist+ World Charging Station can charge up to five devices at once from a single outlet in 150 different countries.

It’s white, cylindrical, has a spinning head and is full of electrical connectors. It’s not Luke Skywalker’s trusty robotic assistant, but the Twist Plus+ World Charging Station could be yours with its ability to charge five devices simultaneously and through outlets anywhere in the world. It’s a game-changer for the international traveler or anyone who travels with more than one mobile device, and right now you can get one for just $34.99.

This rolling luggage keeps tech travelers plugged in

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The iQ bag includes a router to give the traveler a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The iQ bag includes a router to give the traveler a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Photo: Andiamo

The tools inside the business traveler’s carry-on luggage have changed. The luggage itself has not.

Two companies are hoping to take off through crowd-funding with modern roller bags that fit all the essentials and charge your devices. One even has a router to give you a Wi-Fi hotspot where ever you land.

HopStop shuts down after Apple sucks the life out of it

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With Transit coming in iOS 9, HopStop doesn't need to exist anymore.
Photo: Apple

It looks like HopStop is doing the walk of shame back from Apple’s apartment. The city transit mapping service is shutting down as of this October. Apple acquired HopStop in 2013 and seems to have used up just about all of the data it wants for its own Maps app, so the folks in Cupertino have apparently moved on.