After buying up advertising companies last month, Google has now purchased airline data firm ITA for US$700 million.
Vice president of search, Marissa Mayer billed the move as one to increase competition in searching for air travel info and said the company would use the buyout to develop flight search tools. Both companies have approved the deal but are waiting on government approval.
Mayer didn’t provide advanced detail, but the feature would likely be integrated into primary searching and could give desktops, and possibly smartphones, a built-in flight search tool if implemented through Google Maps. The acquisition could pose a significant threat to services like Expedia and Kayak as it could bypass these tools for some of the flight search process.
Bing already provides some help in locating flights and is likely to be Google’s primary target with the deal.