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Google to Launch Travel Site Powered by ITA

Google & ITA Software LogosAccording to media reports, Google is only a few weeks away from introducing its own travel search product. The search giant is due to use the technology it gained from taking over ITA Software, an airfare software company.

Although Google is remaining pretty quiet about its new travel website, it has been reported that the new tool will offer map-based searches, which will be similar to the Explore feature offered by online travel agent Kayak. This will allow consumers to visualise flight prices depending on their destination. The company will also be allowing customers to apply filters for their price range.

Google has already added flight schedules to its search results, but with the airfare data from ITA, it could add airline and flight information as well. The technology could also allow the search giant to offer localised results depending on the consumer’s IP address, which is similar to what online travel service Hotwire does. Travellers will almost certainly be able to search for airfare prices with their own queries as well.

All of this follows, as said before, Google’s acquisition of ITA Software. This $700 million takeover was approved by the Department of Justice in April, after much opposition from companies who are worried the search giant will have a monopoly. The online travel search industry argued that the acquisition could increase travel prices, result in less innovation in Web-based travel search and cause a decline in travel option availability.

It’s because of this that the acquisition has some restrictions on it. The Justice Department stipulated that Google has to continue licensing the airfare data from ITA to other sites on a commercially fair, non-discriminatory and reasonable basis. The search giant also has to implement firewall limits to protect sensitive consumer data, as well as continue developing and making available next-gen InstaSearch products from ITA, which aims to provide near-instant results for flexible search queries of airfares. Additionally, Google can’t enter into any deals with carriers that will violate on the airline’s right to share information with competitors to the search giant.

Meanwhile, Google’s deal with Twitter expired on July 2. A spokesman said that they have had an agreement with the social networking site since October 2009 to include their updates in search results through a special feed, but this has expired. For nearly 2 years, Twitter has been a valued partner, and they are open to exploring more collaborations with the site in the future. The company noted that, even though they don’t have access to this special feed anymore, the information posted in tweets will still be discoverable and searchable on Google with its crawlers.

Additionally, Google reported earlier in the week that it temporarily disabled its Realtime Search feature. This was because they were exploring a way to incorporate Google+ into the feature. A spokesman said that the company’s aim is to have the Google+ information included with other real-time data from an array of sources.

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