Yes you did indeed read right! The 2012 online travel industry forecast is around the 313 billion USD. Who wants a slice? Groupon, Opodo, Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, etc, everyone wants some of that cream cake...
Blackberry launched its Blackberry Travel by RIM in Februray 2011, Apple patented the iTravel App, everyone wants a slice of that cake!
May 27th 2011, in its efforts to offer a full suite of online services and jump on that band wagon, Google launched 'checking flights times' service as a new search engine functionality in ten languages from day one.
This is a basic service for now but will be improved greatly shortly!
Following last month take over of ITA Software, Google now offers the possibility to research flights and flight times directly via the Google search engine.
Exit Flighstats.com, Google offers its own service now. Google' s purchase of ITA Software was quite controversial (indeed, ITA SOftware provides data to large players such as Tripadvisor, Kayak, Airlines.... and Bing). Tourism professionals and travel agencies were afraid of Google's take over of another industry and have the monopoly so they gathered creating the FairSearch.org lobby backed up by Microsoft. Nevertheless, the US Department of Justice allowed the sale last month, with very precise and detailed guidelines for Google not to have access to its competitors data and for ITA Software top provide their service according to contracts. Independent watchdogs have also been put in place...
So one can search using a departure city of choice using different key search expressions, Google will display all outgoing flight possibilities from the given city with flight details:
One can also search for a particular journey and the results displayed by Google will enclose all possibilities with time of departure and arrival, flight time and the weekly flights schedule:
This is an obvious answer from Google to last year's Bing Travel (which is quite a detailed and complete flight and hotels comparison platform). Following the court case between Bing Travel and Kayak, a partnership agreement has been settled (the end user is re-directed from the Bing Travel platform to the Kayak platform for all search results).
More to come on this new Google service so watch this space!