KAYAK Explore for Mac

By Andrea Charriez

There are more than a few folks here at KAYAK who like Apple products. The very first computers that KAYAK purchased were Mac G5s, and they’ve been the mainstay of KAYAK developers ever since.

When Apple made the iPhone app SDK available in 2008, we took our first steps in developing native apps – that is, applications that don’t run in a web browser. KAYAK users really responded to the new way of finding travel, and we’ve been able to deliver new features such as flight tracking and offline itinerary tracking.

When Apple announced the Mac App Store, we wanted to see if there was something else we could bring to a travel planning experience that would be different than our site. After all, if you have a Mac, you can use KAYAK in Safari just fine. It’s what our developers use every day.

So we did what all good developers do when starting to evaluate a complex technical and business challenge: we came up with a clever code name. One that would hide the true nature of the product not only from nefarious competitors prowling our suburban parking lot, but also from people sitting three desks over from us.

And thus was born project Armadillo. Or, as we like to say it, armadillah. What does travel planning have to do with armadillos? (armadilli?) Nothing. Trust me.

So… where were we? Ah yes, KAYAK Explore for Mac, our first Mac app. (Note, some joker seriously suggested we should call it KAYAK Explore for MACH, because that is technically correct, and of course it’s for “Mac”, it’s in the Mac App Store, duh. And if you get that joke, you’re almost as nerdy as we are.)

KAYAK Explore for Mac, or Armadillo, as I will call it from now on, takes the popular “Explore” feature from our web site, gives it a personal trainer, pumps it full of steroids, reads it a number of self help books, bites it with a radioactive spider, exposes it to an accidental overdose of gamma radiation (intentionally), and makes it way more fun and useful. Basically, by adding hotel prices, pretty pictures, and lots of cool animation.

Check it out here, it’s totally free.

Oh, and while you’re at it we also updated our iPhone app to you including a new Tours & Attractions feature and an improved user interface for the Flight Tracker and My Trips features – check out a demo here, it’s also free. — billo