Home Google Unveils New Travel Search Feature, Does Not Include ITA Features

Google Unveils New Travel Search Feature, Does Not Include ITA Features

Google is unveiling its new flight search feature today, which makes it easier to search for flight information within Google. Notably, Google says this does not include any of the services it acquired with its controversial acquisition of ITA, the flight data search company Google bought last year and went through nine months of regulatory oversight before being approved in April.

The new flight schedule search feature is relatively minor by itself. It allows users to see all the flight schedules on a route as well as to explore all the outbound destinations from an airport. Yet, this is just a step in Google’s plans to take over flight scheduling data and search. What can users expect when Google finally does integrate ITA software into its travel features?

ITA’s best travel search feature is called Matrix. It provides airport geo-search, event search to find things to do at your destination, an interactive calendar to explore date ranges for lowest fares, real-time filters to find the best flight for your needs and color-coded time bars. Google’s newest offering does none of this and is little more than flight data on a search page. Neither has Google integrated any of ITA’s mobile offerings, namely its “OnTheFly” app that is available for iOS and Android.

The theory is that Google will be able to take the ITA offerings and QPX software – with the data it harvests and the interface it provides – and display it in a Google search page. Google wants to know what users are doing so as to better push advertising and offerings such as the announcement of Google Wallet, and this revamp of its travel search offers significant insight into the online and real-world behavior of people. Google’s ITA purchase was as much about the rich data the company provides (and can manipulate through Needlebase) as the richer, real-time travel search options it can provide.

Will this set it apart from Bing, which partnered with travel search engine Kayak earlier this month? Bing had been using ITA data to power its search options and joined the coalition against Google’s purchase of ITA. Kayak by itself is an impressive travel search engine and the other market players – Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Orbitz, Optifly – all have heavy marketing campaigns and a wide base of users.

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