Report: Google Set to Launch ITA-Powered Travel Site

Google is just weeks away from launching its own online travel search product, according to TechCrunch.

Using technology gained from its acquisition of airfare software company ITA, Google’s new tool will provide map-based search, similar to Kayak’s Explore feature, which will let travelers visualize flight prices. By leveraging its own popular Maps tool, Google could allow customers to apply filters for destinations and price, TechCrunch said.

Search will likely be at the forefront of Google’s efforts, however. Google already added flight schedules to search results, but ITA’s airfare data could add flight and carrier information to the mix. ITA tech could also enable Google to serve up localized results based upon a user’s IP address—similar to that of Hotwire. Finally, you can expect Google to bring its own charm to the process, allowing travelers to search for airfare results using their own queries.

Connected Traveler

The Department of Justice approved Google’s $700 million ITA acquisition in April, but it is not without its critics. The online travel search industry rallied against the deal, arguing that the Google grab could result in higher travel prices, fewer travel options, and less innovation in Web-based travel search.

Google’s acquisition and use of ITA is not without caveats. Justice stipulated that Google must continue licensing ITA’s airfare search software to other sites on “commercially fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.” Google must implement firewall restrictions to protect sensitive customer data and continue to develop and make available ITA’s next-gen InstaSearch product, which aims to deliver near-instant results for flexible airfare search queries. Finally, Google cannot enter into airline agreements that would impinge upon a carrier’s right to share information with Google competitors.

Late last month, Google confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission has launched an investigation into the company, though it did not provide specifics.

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