Search giant flies into travel industry with a US $700m deal.
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First it was search engines, maps and mobile phones. Now the US authorities has just given the internet king the green light to buy airline fare tracker ITA Software, which collates airline info for consumers.
The purchase of the Massachusettes based giant, will now go ahead as planned after the U.S. Department of Justice finally gave the go ahead after the bid was first announced last July.
It powers many of the main airlines and airlines and many popular online fare-comparison services, including Kayak, TripAdvisor and Hotwire.
This now means the giant will be a major player in online travel, and are “excited” about the new venture, says Jeff Huber, Senior VP, Commerce and Local in a blog.
“We’re confident that by combining ITA’s expertise with Google’s technology we’ll be able to develop exciting new flight search tools for all our users.”
Google have also said they will extend ITA’s customers contracts into 2016 and are agreeing to let both current and new customers license ITA’s QPX software on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
It has also made commitments to making ITA’s technology available to other travel sites.
Huber also gave a hint of how the service will work:
“How cool would it be if you could type “flights to somewhere sunny for under $500 in May” into Google and get not just links but also flight times, fares and a link to sites where you can buy tickets?” he added.
And it could be a massive money maker for the giant, with potential for advertising offering supplementary products and services.
However, the move rattled rivals and regulators alike who fear its foray into travel marks its latest attempt to garner control over more business markets by directing browsers to its own sites and away from the competition.
The most widely used search engine in the world already has a foothold in other markets including web directory’s, maps, and office apps.
The Justice Dept is, however, wary of the danger Google might pose to rival operators and have laid the groundwork for a potential investigation into such manipulation of Internet search results, AP report.
To quell federal concerns, Larry Page’s giant has agreed to ongoing monitoring of its behaviour.