Google Preparing to Launch Travel Site

Google ITAGoogle is mere weeks away from launching its very own online travel search product according to many viable sources. Google has its hand in literally every market on the internet so why should travel be any different? I mean, Google Maps and Google Earth are already so successful that an online travel search product should fit in quite nicely.

Google’s new tool, which uses technology that the company acquired in its acquisition of airfare software company ITA, will provide a map-based search similar to the Explore feature from Kayak. The tool will allow travelers to visualize flight prices. Google, by leveraging its very own Maps tool, could allow customers to apply filters for certain destinations and prices.

However, searching will more than likely be at the forefront of Google’s efforts here. Google has already added flight schedules to search results, however, ITA’s airfare data could very well add flight and carrier information to the mix. The ITA technology could also enable Google to dish out localized results based on your IP address, similar to the way Hotwire does things. However, it wouldn’t be Google if you were unable to search for airfare results using your own queries so expect that as well.

The Department of Justice approved Google’s $700 million acquisition of ITA back in April though the acquisition did come with its share of critics. The entire online travel search industry rallied against the acquisition by arguing that the grab by Google could result in higher travel prices, fewer travel options and less innovation in web-based travel search.

The good thing, at least for the online travel industry anyway, is that the Department of Justice stipulated that Google is required to continue licensing ITA’s airfare search software to other sites on “commercially fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.” Google must also implement firewall restrictions in order to protect sensitive customer data and continue to develop and make available ITA’s next-gen InstaSearch¬†product.

In addition to all of that, Google is prohibited from entering into airline agreements that would¬†impinge upon a carrier’s right to share information with Google competitors. Google, late last month, confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission has launched an investigation into the company though Google failed to provide details.

Source: PC Mag – Report: Google Set to Launch ITA-Powered Travel Site

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