Flight delay alerts are helpful, but they usually depend on airlines notifying you in a timely fashion... and they're not always quick on the draw. Google, however, is happy to fill that gap. It's updating its Flights feature with not only explanations for delays, but predictions. Its machine learning system will use historic flight status info to forecast delays, and flags them when there's at least an 80 percent confidence the prediction will come true. The company stresses that you should still show up on time (you don't want to miss a flight due to pessimism), but this could give you a hint of trouble before you set foot in the airport.
The update could also be valuable if you're thrifty -- Google has started outlining the amenities for frugal fares on American, Delta and United flights. Check the details and you can avoid rude surprises if you're expecting to choose your seat or stow luggage overhead. This won't make that ultra-basic flight any more pleasant, but it could help you decide whether or not the savings are really worth the extra hassle.