What would Google want with a flight search engine? Oh, it's not so hard
to guess! Google's business is search, and by capitalizing on more and
more aspects of search, Google's able to extract even more ad dollars.
One area where Google
has fallen behind others is travel. When you think
of travel search, you don't really consider Google. You may think of
Orbitz, Expedia, Bing Travel or Kayak, but you probably don't
immediately think of Google. But that could change with their
acquisition of ITA Software.
Last year, Google made the decision to snap up ITA, but many pundits
were quick to point out that such a combination was unlikely to happen.
After all, how would such a deal pass regulatory hurdles? A year later,
those hurdles have been passed, but Google's being forced to make some
major compromises. Google's goal is to have you search for things like
"flights to the beach for under $500 in June" and then be able to give
you real-time, relevant results. With ITA Software's technology under
their belt, they'd be able to do just that.
But of course, the US Department of Justice had a thing or two to say
about such a thing. They forced Google to allow ITA to honor the
agreements already agreed to until 2016, and Google has also agreed to
let both current and new customers license ITA’s QPX software on “fair,
reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” into 2016—along with related
commitments aimed at making ITA’s technology available to other travel
sites. It looks as if Google will be able to acquire ITA after all, but
there's no clear word on when the partnership will take root and start
providing results online. Maybe by the time the summer travel season
hits full swing? We're sure Google hopes so.