Besides all the awesome Google+ features, the search giant may be serving up some nifty travel search features very soon. Google’s $700 million acquisition of travel software company ITA was approved back in April and we are now finally hearing about some of the first travel search features that may come of that purchase.
One of the features rumored is a map-based search tool that will show flight pricing based on destinations. Filters can be set to narrow down where you want to fly to and at what price range. The results from this search can all be accessed via a map view. Another rumored feature is that the ITA data will be integrated so that Google search results of flights, times, and pricing will be based on your search terms and IP address to be more relevant to your geographic location. Also, specific queries such as “cheap flights to Paris” will bring up search results that include schedule and airfare options.
Google’s ITA acquisition was approved after several months of anti-trust investigation because travel search competitors such as Microsoft Bing, Kayak, TripAdvisor, and Expedia all use data from ITA. Hence, Google’s purchase of ITA for their own travel search products could seriously eliminate competition. Despite this, the courts approved of the service but with certain conditions that Google must follow.
The conditions require Google to continue to update the ITA software and to continue offering the service to competitors at commercially reasonable terms. Firewalls must also be setup to prevent any unauthorized access of competitor’s data gathered from ITA customers.