Google Flights Might Give Other Travel Search Engines A Run For Your Money
By Brent Randall 2011-09-14 22:41:43
You can add Travelocity, Kayak and Expedia to the ever-growing list of companies that Google is attempting to scare, if only just a little bit. After purchasing Motorola and strengthening its standing in the smartphone market, the worldís most popular search engine launched a new feature that locates the best flight deals for users. While in comparison to its foray into smartphones this looks like small potatoes, it could eventually be serious business.
According to USA Today, travelers will now be able to search for the best airline fares using google.com/flights. For those of you who follow the always popular flight-data provider business, you would have seen this coming when Google paid $700 million for ITA Software earlier this year. The software allows Google to filter searches by price, airlines and routes, and offers a handy bar chart to figure out when the cheapest time to fly will be.
While Google is currently staying out of handling sales like other travel sites and instead directing users to participating airlines, you have to think that this is still going to cut into the airline search business a bit. Google has a major base of dedicated searchers already, so profit will come out of this new venture. The question is, how much? Depending on whether the service really takes off (see what I did there?), it would seem crazy to not fully capitalize on the $700 million investment and get deeper into the sale of flights.
As someone who flies a few times a year, I welcome any system that attempts to find me the best deals on flights, which always seem to be getting more expensive. I feel quite optimistic that Google could be the search engine that comprehensively compiles the lowest prices in getting me where I want to go. Unfortunately a powerful search engine wonít be able to change the charges for checked baggage. Maybe Google should think about starting an airline next.