Google flights will take-off shortly, after the announcement that they have purchased ITA Software of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a reported $700 million. The travel industry software firm have a strong foothold in the market, supplying leading flight operators including: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines, TAP Portugal, tripadvisor, United, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
The consumer flight search industry is currently led by SkyScanner, Travelocity and Expedia. When Google Flights is launched, the industry can expect a big shake up in terms of market share, due to the massive reach of the Californian based Google Inc.
As Google+ sign-ups are about to take-off as well, they will soon have an even bigger social audience to target via the Google Flights service, allowing instant access to the target market.
We expect the Google Flights product to launch by August / September 2011, and the facility should be included in the Chrome browser navigation. This is because of the shear number of people who search for cheap flights on a regular basis, especially in the US where internal flights are more common than most countries.
The latest expansion in the Google product range is again an off-the-shelf solution. The search giant has seen continued growth through a mixture of innovation (such as their search engine and Maps / Places products) and paid for advances. The most notable purchases the company has made includes YouTube for $1.6 billion, DoubleClick for $3.1 billion and AdMob for $750 million.