September 14, 2011
Google’s Travel Site Takes Off
Google is bringing its search prowess to airline travel with the purchase earlier this year of ITA Software, which provides flight data, according to various media reports.
This new avenue, named Google Travel, brings it in direct competition with online travel services such as Kayak, Orbitz, Bing and Expedia, which federal regulators intensely tried to block.
The Department of Justice approved the acquisition, with caveats, such as being required to continue licensing ITA´s software to other sites that now compete with Google, many of which opposed the acquisition.
Tuesday was the first full day of public use of the service but additional connected services are expected to be offered as the site is brought fully online. Only select cities in the United States are shown for now and results are only offering economy-class, round-trip flights.
When travelers search for flights on Google or visit http://www.google.com/flights/, they will see flight options from a variety of airlines, which they can be sorted by departure or arrival time, flight duration, route, airline or price, NY Times reports.
Google may well be experimenting with advertising after its roll-out, TechCrunch reports. The portal, at this time, doesn´t feature one-way or multi-city fares. Google Travel joins other offerings, like hotel search, which it introduced in July.
An initial try-out of the service appears that the results are presented almost instantaneously, compared with some other sites where results take a good amount of time to appear.
On Tuesday, Robert Birge, Kayak´s chief marketing officer said in a statement that Kayak´s flight search was superior. “We recognize Google is a formidable competitor, but they haven´t been successful in every vertical they´ve entered,” Mr. Birge said.
“We use multiple data sources and proprietary technology, all of which helps us in our efforts to provide people with comprehensive, fast and accurate answers to their flight search needs.”
Google said its travel results were not influenced by any paid relationship. The search engine points results directly to the airline´s own web site to book the flight.
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