Tuesday Apr. 12, 2011 @ 4:02 pm By

Google is getting into the air fare search game by buying ITA, ‘the’ company which specializes in organizing airline data, including flight times, availability and prices that many of the big online travel sites use. This $700mil purchase appears to have concerned some of the big online travel site names as it was reported that air travel search sites Travelocity, Expedia and Kayak were angling to block the Google purchase, claiming it would give Google too much power & control over the online travel market and lead to higher prices.

For the government to allow the purchase, Google agreed to allow all the online travel sites that currently use ITA’s software – Hotwire, TripAdvisor, Kayak, Orbitz, Bing – to:

(1) extend their contracts into 2016 and to let new customers license ITA’s software
(2) have access to the next generation InstaSearch product

(3) Google is also barred from entering into agreements with airlines that would restrct sharing of seat and booking class information with its competitors
(4) Google will be required to build a “firewall” that will prevent it from gaining access to competitors’ proprietary software which runs on ITA servers

According to reports, “Google has said the ITA acquisition will help it create new tools that will make it easier for consumers to search for travel, compare flight options and prices and drive more customers to online travel agencies. Google has said it has no plans to sell airline tickets or set airfare prices.”

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