Google Follows Microsoft’s Lead? May 27, 2010Posted by Jussi Huotari in : business,travel , add a comment
Google has been reported to be in talks to pay $1 billion to acquire ITA Software – a software company specialized in travel industry. ITA’s customers include Kayak, Tripadvisor, and a number of major airlines. The acquisition would enable Google to become the metasearch for travel information such as flights and accommodation.
Considering Google’s vast audience, this would be bad news for the existing metasearch engines. How much room does it leave for sites like Kayak or Skyscanner or any of the other numerous metasearches? Google already has a greap set of tools for travelers: a map, calendar, docs, etc. And it began showing hotel information (with prices) on the map in March. Searching for flights would be kind of a logical next step.
Microsoft already provides hotels and flights search as a part of its Bing Travel. They got a kick start about two years ago (April 2008), when they acquired Farecast. Farecast had an interesting value prop: they tell you when is the best time to buy flights for your selected route.
Now it looks like Google is following Microsoft’s path and buying it’s way to travel search space.
How would this shake the travel industry? ITA has developed technology for MS’s Bing as well. Yahoo! Travel (ex-Farechase) is playing on the same field. Kayak is supposedly trying to move from a ‘mere’ metasearch to a booking site.