#Expedia#Google#ITA#Microsoft Bing#Orbits#Qantas Airlines#U.S. Justice Department#U.S.District Court

Google Adds Travel Agent to Services

|Apr 13|magazine8 min read

Google’s latest addition to its wide reach of services is that of providing consumers with a travel agent’s access to airline data. Planning this summer’s vacation could get a lot easier if Google is allowed to add this software in addition to its vast resources of information.

Last summer, Google bought ITA for $US700 million but then had to wait for the U.S. Justice Department to review their acquisition and its possible effects on the online travel market.

ITA supplies flight and price comparison information to travel agents. Expedia, Orbitz, and Microsoft’s Bing, who are just some of ITA’s clients and software’s users, tried to block Google from being allowed to own ITA due to fears of limited access and a possible monopoly.

However, yesterday the U.S. Justice Department gave Google the go-ahead to take over ITA and its software but tacked on several strict sanctions.

These sanctions protect current ITA clients and try to prevent Google from becoming a monopoly. Google has to continue to provide software access and new products to current clients at “commercially reasonable terms”, according to an article released by The Australian.

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This complicated tango of legal scrutiny that Google has had to undergo highlights the business world’s great admiration and fear of the company. While consumers love Google for its constant innovation, creativity, and ease of use; competitors fear that the company’s relentless development could create a stark monopoly over information and technology access.

As Google has grown from the little search engine that could to a major media corporation, it’s become harder to recognize and regulate privacy, security, and information violations by Google.

Google’s acquiring of this service is very savvy considering the rise in fuel and flight prices. Last month Qantas announced that its domestic and regional fares would be increasing by $10 per sector and other airlines have been using similar measures.

According to the government’s domestic airfare index, flights are 23 percent higher than they were at this same time last year. However it could be some time before Google can offer a flight comparison service as it still needs to get the approval of the U.S. District Court.