90di travel search blog

Desktop UI release

March 8th, 2017 by Sajiv Kurur

We released a new UI for desktop earlier this month. The major change has been a switch in the underlying technology from Dartlang to pure JavaScript. The earlier UI developed using Dartlang had certain limitations like the slider filter not working with Firefox. With pure JavaScript, the size of the code download at the user’s end has reduced by half, which should drastically improve the load times.

There are also some new UI features, which are minor ones, but hopefully useful ūüôā
– Filter option for class, while searching for trains
– ARP date, i.e., date until which the railway reservations can be done
– Ability to switch between form-based & free-text and to change the mode of search within the search-results page
– Buttons for swapping and clearing of the search fields

Happy searching and please continue to give your valuable suggestions!

90di Android App released

September 29th, 2016 by khushnood

Some good news for our users after a long time. Mobile users have only had access to the mobile web app upto now. And lot many users have been asking for an android app. So finally! we do have the android app.

Please get it from the google play store by searching for ’90di travel’. Or you can simply use the below link.


Get it on Google Play

Enjoy!

New(er) UI for Desktop

September 4th, 2015 by khushnood

We released a faster version of UI, few months back. Now we have a newer version.

Please do give it a spin, and do let us know any problems you face. Also hope you like the new logo.

The new UI, with the new logo

New UI for Desktop

June 12th, 2015 by khushnood

We started working on the new version of UI, some time back, and now its done. Well almost done. Some issues may still be there, as its brand new. Just in case it does not work for you, can revert to the old one at 90di.com/travel .

This one should be much faster to load. And even the search should be still faster. Also has a lot of other improvements, including:

1) Return routes shown in separate tabs (see pic below)

2) Single page has all the results, means even if there are 100s of results, they are all there. You can of course take help of sorting links, and filters to select the flight, train or bus of your choice. This was long due.

New UI

Hope you like this much better than the earlier one. And please be assured that it will improve in the next few weeks. And your feedback is welcome to help improve. Thanks!

 

Web UI Overhaul

May 22nd, 2015 by khushnood

The web UI’s overhaul has been long due. Please find below an interim version, which combines an easier to use flights search (with calendar as well as fares on the same page:

http://www.90di.com/web/?q=Bangalore%20to%20Mumbai%20flights

Please try it, and give your comments. Its not yet released on the main site, so it may have some bugs. The final release version is intended to be released in a few weeks.

A question on speed

February 21st, 2014 by khushnood

A user liked the speedy experience on 90di and asked:

> really cool site…I am just curious, how your site is so fast .. compare to <name deleted> …u guys are using rest or something else ?

We always love it, when users like something and tell us. Paraphrasing the reply. Actually the fastness of a site, mainly depends on the server side (i.e. back end) architecture. There we have designed it with care for scale and keeping the latency low. We host on Linux servers. And use Nginx for web server. Server side code is in Java as well as now moved quite a bit to Go lang (Google’s new language – which takes less memory than Java)¬† while retaining or exceeding the speed.

Some bits have been coded in C++ for extra speed. So there you go, the architecture in brief. And we are trying and working on it to make it still faster..we will try to share more sharable stuff in the coming months on this blog.

Also we had been tied up enhancing and supporting the growth, and could not blog regularly over here last year. Shall try to be more regular on that front.

International flights on 90di

September 27th, 2012 by khushnood

Not sure, if you knew that you can also search International flights on 90di. The feature has been there for a while, but we did not mention it too much, as we were reliant on a single provider for that. But now, we have improved it a bit, and so perhaps time to tell you all about it.

There are lots of Airlines in India which travel international with one end of the journey in India. So we provide flights from Jet Airways, JetKonnect, Indigo, Spice Jet and Air India Express directly from these airlines.

Also for these (inbound/outbound flights to/from India) and all the other flights of the world we show flights from Expedia.

Some example queries:

1) Some popular routes from India – in these cases we show flights from the Indian carriers and also from Expedia
Delhi to Dubai flights on 20th
Chennai to Singapore flights on 22nd and back on 24th

2) Pure International flights – these we show from Expedia
SFO to Dallas flights on Sunday

3) Some other routes connecting smaller Indian towns with places abroad – Jet Airways and Air India Express do a good job of covering these routes
Lucknow to dubai flight on sunday
dubai to amritsar flights on next friday

Please do try it out. And give us your feedback. Last but not the least: please do remember to review the choice carefully before booking.

1021789

June 15th, 2012 by khushnood

Yes, 1,021,789! That’s the number of travel searches you did, dear users, on 90di.com in the last month.

We are ecstatic to reach the million search mark. And thank you all all for it. We love you for it. And hope that you celebrate with us, by doing more searches on 90di.com, and by spreading the word about us to your family and friends.

We believe in our model, and think its the best model to exist for travel bookings using the Internet.

We would also like to thank our partner Airlines on this occasion.

Indian Railways, we would request you to help us more, by being open. Give everybody an API. It will allow innovation to happen in this field. And people will love you more. Also allow us to make some commercial use of it.

Our Bus partners, we thank you.

Also open source software communities, we love you. We thank:

1. Linux: Where we develop, host and run our stuff.

2. Java and its eco system with lots of other open source libraries, created by the erstwhile Sun. Oracle, please-please don’t screw it up.

3. Apache web server – You never crashed in some 4/5 years of run! Need anything be said in your praise. We love you.

4. Tomcat and Jetty: We have used both of them, in various mixes at various times.

5. GWT: Thanks Google and GWT team for building such a cool piece of software. That said, the roadmap does look uncertain, and we will be forced to move to JQuery, or such, if you don’t dispel the doubts with actions in terms of some solid releases.

6. Demo Recorder: Its a brilliant piece of software to record stuff on linux. And it has helped us saved the day, during one presentation, when Internet connection died.

7. libevent: In our experience, libevent provides an excellent base to serve requests, if you want to code in C/C++, with perhaps 1/3rd the memory requirements of Java and twice as fast.

8. Eclipse: The IDE we use to generate our Java code.

9. vi: The best editor in the world, if you conquer it. For those, who have not had the pleasure of using it – Its the editor for coding C++, and shell scripts, and what not!

10. Memcached: The fastest way to cache some objects, and any thing. With the lowest possible memory & CPU footprint.

11. subversion(svn): For help managing our source code control (I know, I know, some people might say “You are not on ‘XYZ’ yet!”. The answer would be ‘will the change the shoe if it pinches me some where, not because some celebrity said, it pinched him!’)

12. MySQL: The best open source RDBMS, in the world.

Also, although not open source, we would like to thank Amazon AWS, for providing the best cloud services in the world. Which allows guerilla fighters, to more effectively compete with the corporates with armies!

JetLite is now JetKonnect

March 23rd, 2012 by khushnood

Important announcement for flight travelers in India: JetLite name has been changed to JetKonnect, effective Monday March 26, 2012.

Apart from the above change, some of the flights which fly as ‘Jet Airways Konnect’ will also be called ‘JetKonnect’ flights.

So as far as Jet Airways group overall,  they will be having flights under two brands: Jet Airways as a full service carrier and JetKonnect as the low cost carrier.

Here is the full press release, they have shared with their partners:

Jet Airways-Press Release-regarding JetKonnect

And this is new JetKonnect logo:

 

 

Strange Analytics data; Likely work of malicious SEO; Hope Google is paying attention!

August 14th, 2011 by khushnood

Travel is a very hotly fought category in the search space and all colors of SEO are at work! We have been by and large a very reluctant participant in this game. Here is an opinion piece on state of search, earlier this year. But at the same time, we will not restrain from articulating our observations and analysis of any suspected malicious “SEO” activities, when it possibly could affect us.

The past two days data shows some strange user behavior from a category of users coming from Google search engine (which not-coincidentally happens to be the target game of most SEOs).

First lets see the data:

1) Visits from Google for the past month:

So far so good. The visits from Google have increased in the past 2 days. When the direct and referral traffic have relatively decreased, due to the independence day weekend in India. But more traffic. Surprised but Fine! We take it.

2) Now lets look at ‘Average time on Site’ (for users coming from Google):

Whats happening here? Why has the average time on site gone down? And by 2 minutes or so!

Bad. But we can’t do anything about it. May be the new people coming on our site, are not liking it as much. As we can’t think of any reason, why existing users would behave in such a way (and that too en-masse).

3) Bounce rate (for users coming from Google):

Ditto with Bounce rate. High by some 14% or so! in the past two days. So new users are not really liking it. Seems kind of weird but Okay, what can we do.

4) All the above might have made sense … until we see the ‘% of new users’ graph (again for users coming from Google):

 

Shockingly & Mysteriously, this is down by roughly 14% in the past two days. While for the previous 29 days, it has remained fairly straight. So what’s happening here? What the hell is happening? And where are the new users? And if there are less new users, then why is the total number of visits high?

After some thinking, yesterday and today, we came up with a theory. That these graphs are easily explained, taking into account, the behavior of people doing “SEO” labor. Explain it in a minute.

The data shows that there are actually less new users in the past two days, from Google. And it would be very strange for existing users to suddenly start typing random travel queries on google and start bouncing our site.

But however strange that may be, the data clearly suggests that it is some of the existing users who are doing this. Now who, then, could be these existing users?

What, likely, is happening is that for a lot of travel keywords, e.g. ‘chennai-mumbai train’ those existing users, are just searching google, clicking on 90di.com and exiting it immediately (i.e. bouncing it). And all this in a bid¬†to decrease the good parameters on 90di.com (and possible other competing sites as well).

And at the same time, those existing users, are also perhaps searching for the same query on Google and clicking on <the-website-paying-for-his/her-work>.com and then spending a decent amount of time on that site.¬†All this activity, and likely paid work, in a bid to increase the ‘avg-time-spent’ parameters on the <the-website-paying-for-his/her-work>.com.

If this is happening. And unless, someone has a better explanation, this is clearly black hat in our opinion. And a very sophisticated one at that. This is evil!

And Google (Attention: Matt Cutts!) may do well do to get to the bottom of all such activity. Perhaps they are already aware of such activity and their search engine algorithm takes care of this. So it will help, if somebody, points to some article/post which explains how this is handled.

We have heard that Google looks at hundreds of signals, to rank a website/page. Hope this case is also easy to handle. We hope that it does the following:

Ignore all increase in bounce rate, and decrease in avg-time-on-site, when accompanied with a proportionate increase in overall visits and a decrease in percent new visits.

If its already handled, it would not hurt to get reassured,by a post from somebody at Google (official or unofficial). If somebody has an alternate explanation for this, we would like to listen.

It must also be said here that our direct and referral traffic has been very consistent during this time. Normal long weekend dip. With flat avg-time-on-site and bounce rates (Displaying two relevant ones for direct users below for reference):

a) Direct visits graph:

Expected early dip for the long weekend.

2) Average time on spent by users who come directly:

By and large remains flat. Rather the usual upward hump, in the weekends due to visitors in perhaps a relaxed weekend mood and not in the usual hurry.

So, would want some action to be taken to curb such activity. And also, if possible, would be great to get reassured, that Google takes care of this, if indeed this is a sophisticated black hat at work, as we have deduced that it may just be.

 

Additional Note:

Why bother about all this? Why not just focus on your own work?

Because, if this is indeed happening, then it directly affects us negatively. If somebody is doing conventional SEO of link building, in whatever shade of grey, it is usually none of our business. But what allegedly happened in this case is not fair, its evil. We will do our bit to bring it to notice.

And on a totally unrelated note, but nevertheless important. Not to forget, Wishing our Indian users a very Happy Independence Day Weekend and safe traveling if they are!