Hotelicopter, the April Fools' Day joke about a helicopter that doubled as a hotel, turned out to be fake. A week later though, the same company that successfully played the joke on most of the Internet has launched a real product with the same name.
Hotelicopter the travel search engine is not nearly as exciting a concept as a converted Soviet chopper-turned-air hotel, but it does an admirable job at scouring the Web to find you deals on hotel bookings. It searches and aggregates the results from more than 30 different hotel deals sites like Priceline, Hotels.com, and Booking.com, and jumps you straight to each provider's purchase page.
One of its nice features is the option to narrow down the area of a town for which you want it to search for results either through a drop down list of neighborhoods or by drawing a fence within the results map. It will then refresh with results only from that area, right down to a half-block radius. This can be handy if you know the place you're visiting.
Included is the option to log in and link it up with your Facebook account using Facebook Connect, which for now is simply a way to bypass registering with the site, and promote that you're using it on your profile every time you book a trip. What would be far more interesting though, is if it pulled a Dopplr and would let you know a friend who lived in each place where you were planning to travel. That way you could ask if you could couch surf and save some money. Of course, that's not how Hotelicopter makes its money, which is in referrals to all these booking sites and on-page Google ads, but I think it would make for a far more compelling product.