Flight Info Now Offered by Google Search
Article by George Norman
On 31 May 2011
If you type in a query like “NY to San Francisco” into Google Search, you will notice that on top of all the search results, Google displays a OneBox result that tells you when flights leave from New York, heading to SFO. Here’s an image to better put things in perspective.


A quick search on Search Features reveals that Google is now serving you flight information as follows:
- If you type in a query like “flights from Denver to Chicago”, you will be presented with flight schedule to and from the destination you specified.
- If you type in a query like “American Airlines 18” you will be presented with information about the flight’s arriving and departing times.

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The fact that Google is serving flight information via its search engine is not surprising. What is surprising is that Google is serving this information without ITA involvement. As you may remember, Google announced it wants to acquire ITA back in the summer of 2010. Then in April it announced that the acquisition of ITA, company known for coming up with technically advanced solutions for organizing flight information, is going along in the right direction – and by that I mean the acquisition was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to Google Software Engineer Petter Wedum, the fact that Google is serving flight information is “just a small step towards making richer travel information easier to find, and we hope to make finding flights online feel so easy, it'll feel like... well, a vacation!” The same Wedum confirmed that Google is not currently leveraging ITA’s search technology.

Presumably ITA’s technology will be incorporated in the future to develop new flights search tools that will make it easier to plan trips. Why else would Google have paid $700 million for ITA if it doesn’t plan to use the technology ITA has to offer?

Getting back to the fact that Google is serving flight info, it must be mentioned that this feature is currently available in 10 languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Turkish, and Catalan.

In flight-related news, Alaska Airlines recently announced that it’s ditching paper flight manuals in favor of iPads. Read more about this topic here.



Tags: Google, ITA Software, Acquisition
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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