$700 Million cash buys Google the online travel software company ITA software. Google is trying to take advantage of the huge demand and the need for innovation in the highly competitive airfare market.
According to Google, more than half of airline tickets are bought online today and the decision to buy ITA software stems from the confusion that exists in the online travel arena. Google CEO Eric Schmidt talks of the lack of proper ticket pricing and availability information in spite of there being thousands of options. He stressed that his company aims at turning this disarray into a highly streamlined approach to online travel.
He said, “We believe we can help solve the online travel problem and help improve the online travel ecosystem.” “We think we can drive even more business to airlines and do something quite different than what’s out there.”
Google also makes it clear that it will not be selling airline tickets directly, and plans on directing consumers to the various sites they can buy tickets from. Thousands of Google travel searches are made each day, but it is not easy to find the appropriate flight queries using the current search tools.
This is where spending $700 million on ITA software that is used by several travel sites becomes worthwhile for Google. The software organizes airline data, offers exact flight timings, prices and availability. Getting options for a holiday within their budget is a dream come true for travelers and Google envisions using ITA software to offer far more advanced travel searches, like “where can I travel with $500?”
Reuters reported that Google’s purchase of ITA was surrounded by rumors about competition trying hard to prevent it from buying the software, including the one where Kayak and Expedia.com wanted to buy ITA to ensure Google does not get its hands on it. Bing also advertised flight information where users can enter domestic flight queries and the search engine will let them know the best time to buy the ticket.
Google is bringing a new dimension to online search and expectations are high that it will finally streamline the whole airline ticketing process online.