Looking for the best bargains on air tickets online can be a gruelling experience and Google aims to change that with the acquisition of flight information company ITA on 1 July.
The deal, which is worth an estimated US$700 million in cash, has been signed with both companies approving the transaction. ITA, a Boston-based company founded by a team of MIT computer scientists in 1996, specialises in the organisation of airline flight schedules, availability and prices on a searchable database.
With the acquisition, Google wants to make it easier for consumers to more easily find flight information on the web and to better compare their available options. The search giant added that the deal "could take some time" to close and it doesn't have a firm schedule on when it'll be able to launch the new flight search tools.
Although Google noted that travel-related searches are "among the highest-volume queries", it doesn't have plans to directly sell flights.
The Mountain View company currently has a flight tracker search feature that lets users see the status of inbound and outbound US flights, as well as a tool to help them plan their travel options. These two services don't rely on data from ITA.
Aside from conveniences to the end user, Google said airlines and online travel agencies will also benefit from a better search system. The company is looking to add new partners to the mix and will honour all existing agreements ITA has with airlines and travel distributors, including Bing, TripAdvisor, American Airlines and United Airlines.
Via CNET Asia