Google has been busy lately, launching its new social network, Google+, and moving to acquire Motorola Mobility and Zagat, the iconic restaurant rating review company. Now, Google has quietly launched the company's online Google travel engine, called Flight Search.
The tool offers basic flight information and pricing, and may ultimately become a competitor to Kayak, an online site that offers discounted fares and flight information from cihe world.
Google's quiet launch is not a big surprise, considering the company acquired ITA software last year, and threatened rivals including Kayak petitioned regulators to block the deal. However, the U.S. Department of Justice approved the deal in April, and now Google has launched Flight Search on its site today, though it's initially limited to some cities and showing results for only round-trip economy flights.
Internet searchers will find Google's Flight Search when the visit google.com/flights or type into google.com a search combination that provokes the result, like flights from New York to Los Angeles.
Google's new feature displays a list of flight options, or if users go first to google.com/flights they get a list of population destinations and specific deals highlighted for certain cities -- for instance today visitors to google.com/flights will see that Denver has flight deals offered for $291.
Users of Google's Flight Search can explore different destinations, and filter searches by airline, flight time, destination and price. Or, they can look at the map to see where different flights will take them for different prices.
Flights selected as featured are currently based on cost and total travel time, but also include different departure times and different airlines, Google said in a blog post about the company's new flight feature.
Just over five months ago, we welcomed ITA Software to the Google family, the company wrote in its blog post. Since then, our engineering teams have been working closely together to build new travel tools that provide faster, more flexible, and more useful results to online travel searches. We wanted to give you an early look at some of what we've been able to accomplish so far.
Starting today, when you search for flight information on Google, for example 'flights from Chicago to Denver,' you will see a 'Flights' link in the left-hand panel. This link leads to our new Flight Search feature, and is offered in addition to the flight schedules which have been available since May. You can also access the Flight Search feature directly at google.com/flights.
Kayak said today that the company isn't afraid of a competitive threat from Google.
We're confident in our ability to compete, and we believe our flight search technology is superior, the company told TechCrunch in a statement. We recognize Google is a formidable competitor but they haven't been successful in every vertical they've entered. We use multiple data sources and proprietary technology, all of which helps us in our efforts to provide people with comprehensive, fast and accurate answers to their flight search needs.