google ita software logoWell, googlexpedia.com was gone.  Plus, the “x” just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as adding an “s” to the name.

Add 1 large engine, the “prominent provider of flight data to airlines, travel agents, global distribution systems, flight comparison sites and technology companies” and what do you get? A recipe that tastes bad in the mouth’s of the current #1 travel website*, a site** that claim’s it’s the “world’s largest travel search site” and the company*** that’s losing it’s monopoly over the consumer population on the Internet.  Recent news on TV and bigger brand name sites are writing about Google purchasing ITA Software for $700 million US dollars. However, a consortium led by Expedia, Kayak.com and Microsoft is doing their best to prevent the takeover from occurring.

The group called FairSearch.org says “Google’s proposal to buy ITA Software, the leading source of critical air fare software used by search engines and travel sites alike, threatens the competitive online travel search market, and could limit the competition and innovation that benefits consumers. If the transaction is approved, consumers should expect to face higher prices and less choice when searching for travel online.”

Googlespedia, I mean Google counters with 3 bullet points & a video (below) here:

  • “Google’s acquisition of ITA Software will create a new, easier way for users to find better flight information online, which should encourage more users to make their flight purchases online.
  • The acquisition will benefit passengers, airlines and online travel agencies by making it easier for users to comparison shop for flights and airfares and by driving more potential customers to airlines’ and online travel agencies’ websites. Google won’t be setting airfare prices and has no plans to sell airline tickets to consumers.
  • Because Google doesn’t currently compete against ITA Software, the deal will not change existing market shares. We are very excited about ITA Software’s QPX business, and we’re looking forward to working with current and future customers. Google will honor all existing agreements, and we’re also enthusiastic about adding new partners.”

I guess Google had some leftover money since Groupon turned them down.  Now that they have $6 billion still left in their coffers, why not jump into one of the most highly searched industries in the world?

Actually, Google announced the signing of this deal back in July of this year. However, I just saw the story for the first time today while at the bank on the tv’s while waiting. It’s interesting how traditional media (tv) and even newspapers are a little slower to the draw, but then again, I guess they like to get all their facts straight and make sure they don’t anger their editors. It could also be that they don’t have any rss feeds set up for when the news breaks or they barely get on their computers to realize that Google’s been on this for a while.

Then again, I feel like I’m relatively plugged in, but with the massive amounts of information and silly things like work, business and family getting in the way, I didn’t learn about this until just today. At the same time, this makes so much sense. You’ll see in my post about the most popular searches online, travel does dominate quite a bit of the top search keyword inventory.

  • #21: google maps (makes sense why it’s #1 in terms of travel search terms according to hitwise)
  • #33: maps
  • #40: mapquest ( again, makes sense why it’s #2 in terms of travel search terms according to hitwise)
  • #63: expedia (shall I say it again?)
  • #77: map
  • and not in the top 100, but trailing very close behind were: “American Airlines” at 2.74 million/mo, “Delta Airlines” with the same count, again at the same estimated searches a month was “travelocity” and literally popping up quite a bit in the top 600+ searches we collected were many airline companies

I wonder what the new Google product will be called.  There’s no subdomain like Yahoo’s at http://travel.google.com yet.  Ahhh, I guess http://google.com/travel works, but it redirects to another url: http://www.google.com/ads/metrics_trav.html which is a page dedicated to travel adwords (for now, at least 😉

P.S. The reason why Googlexpedia.com was unavailable: I bought it to blog about the possible ramifications of search & other dominant companies in the Internet affecting commerce in both positive/negative ways for consumers.  While I don’t have an incredible amount of time available, consumer protection should be discussed and larger companies have the right to NOT abuse people because individuals are easily forgotten as all being important.

From the Official Google Blog: Taking off with ITA

*Expedia represents the #1 travel website reseller online. It’s behind two other websites considered to be in the travel category (#1 google maps [I’m sure expedia thinks this is funny] and #2 mapquest) according to hitwise in May 2010.
**From Kayak’s about page.
***This is difficult to prove, but Google outranks Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) by close to 6 to 1 and Chrome is growing incredibly fast in terms of usage on the Internet.

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