Google Flights getting ready for take-off
Back in July last year Google completed a $700 million takeover of airline data specialist ITA and announced that it was "confident that by combining ITA’s expertise as the leading developer of flight information software with Google’s technology" it would "be able to create great user innovations in flight search".
A year on and we've still not seen anything flight based from the Big G, although reports circulating indicate that we could be just a few weeks away from a Google flight scanner service.
The Department of Justice agreed to Google's ITA takeover in April - and a "well placed industry source" has told TechCrunch that the launch is imminent.
Google Flights is likely to be a service that rivals other online flight scanners like Kayak and Microsoft's Bing Travel which, interestingly, both use ITA software for their services.
The report suggests Google's effort will have unique features such as IP address mapping for flights, flight scanning direct from Google search (after typing something like "flights to Rome") and Google Maps integration.
Google stated via its blog last year:
"While online flight search is rapidly evolving, we think there is room for more competition and greater innovation...We’ll work on creating new flight search tools that will make it easier for you to search for flights, compare flight options and prices and get you quickly to a site where you can buy your ticket."
How it does that, whilst still adhering to the terms set by the Justice Department; that Google is required to continue to fund and license ITA’s airfare search software on commercially "reasonable terms" (effectively powering its rivals) remains to be seen.