The friendly skies are about to get interesting.
It's been five months since regulators cleared Google's
Google rolled out at a search engine for commercial flights this week, scouring several carriers for the best rates.
After kicking the tires on a few routes this morning at google.com/flights I can't say that I'm terribly impressed. It doesn't seem as good or as intuitive as the comparative engines found at Kayak or even Microsoft's
Don't judge Google Flights based on what it looks like right now or the dot-com giant's low-key rollout. Everything boils down to one simple question: At what point does it become more lucrative for Google to serve up direct flight information than to generate a paid click through a lead-seeking travel portal advertiser? It's not just about a single exchange. It's about seeing Google as the starting point of choice the next time that somebody is pondering a travel decision.
It's not just Google catching the flying bug. Baidu
Yes, regulators were hesitant in approving the ITA purchase in the first place. The deal didn't go through until Google agreed that it would license ITA's technology to other companies through the next five years. It doesn't matter. If Google can find a way to make itself relevant in travel without diluting its brand for search in general, this lowly launch is going to gain some serious altitude.
You can reach for the airsickness bags now, travel portals.