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Feds Approve Google's Purchase of ITA Software 41

Posted by Soulskill
from the fare-deal dept.
itwbennett writes "The US Justice Department has approved Google's $700 million acquisition of online flight-data specialist ITA Software, but with stringent conditions. From a DOJ press release announcing its approval of the purchase: '[I]n order for Google Inc. to proceed with its proposed acquisition of ITA Software Inc., the department will require Google to develop and license travel software, to establish internal firewall procedures and to continue software research and development. The department said that the proposed settlement will protect competition for airfare comparison and booking websites and ensure those websites using ITA's software will be able to power their websites to compete against any airfare website Google may introduce.'"
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Feds Approve Google's Purchase of ITA Software

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  • this has been a product by the <strike>umbrella</strike> google corporation.
  • http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ [itasoftware.com] is a very useful web site indeed.

    Think of it as Google for cheap flights.

    I hope Google does the right thing and keeps ITA alive: these guys knew their stuff.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Perhaps its more funding for the good ideas ITA has and will keep it going and bring it forward. But whatever happened to Google creating software like this? I thought of Google as an innovator, not an aggregator.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Google is no stranger to buying out companies that have products that fit in line with their search product.

        Allowing users to search for cheapest flights directly from Google is a service that integrates well with their product. It's a good acquisition for Google.

        • Can't you search and find the cheapest flights now using any search engine? There are also dozens of existing travel services websites that contain all this info not to mention the carrier websites. So what's the real reason for Googles new acquisition?
          • Can't you search and find the cheapest flights now using any search engine? There are also dozens of existing travel services websites that contain all this info

            of which a large part use ITA Software as backend!

      • If its a good wheel, there is no need to reinvent it -just buy the existing one. If its a good concept, but a bad implementation, build a better one...

    • by zill (1690130)
      Maybe I'm expecting too much, but that is a terrible search engine, just like most other airfare search engines on the internet. When I have a specific queries like "On which days is the fare cheapest between airport A and airport B in 2012?", or "graph out all 68808 combinations of departure and return dates in 2012 so that I can pick my travel dates visually" these online search engines are absolutely useless in answering them.

      Most search sites do not let you search a date range, only specific dates.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lokitoth (1069508)

        The problem with your query is that ITA (and the other GDS systems) have to query the individual airline systems to get at the rates - and caching is not effective except as at a "best effort/guess" basis, because rates change dynamically according to algorithms known only to the airlines themselves. That is why, as one gets closer to the date, the cost for any given ticket (same flight/seat-class) increases. This makes it completely ineffective to do a search like you suggest - you would only be able to ge

      • by klparrot (549422)

        Can't tell if sarcasm; ITA Matrix is one of the most flexible and powerful flight search engines out there.

        It's kind of useless to search for the cheapest fares in a whole year, because seat sales are often offered a month or two before the flight, not to mention most airlines only sell seats up to 11 months in advance. Use something like Airfare Watchdog if you want to hear when seat sales happen, then use ITA Matrix to pick dates and routes in the timespan that the seat sale is in effect.

        ITA Matrix also h

      • by jschen (1249578)
        In the interest of full disclosure, I handled user support on ITA Software's search sites from April 2000 to March 2011. My leaving is due to a change in life circumstances, and has nothing to do with Google.

        Maybe I'm expecting too much, but that is a terrible search engine, just like most other airfare search engines on the internet. When I have a specific queries like "On which days is the fare cheapest between airport A and airport B in 2012?", or "graph out all 68808 combinations of departure and return dates in 2012 so that I can pick my travel dates visually" these online search engines are absolutely useless in answering them.

        If you search far enough into the future, there generally will be a very large number of travel dates (often the majority) available at the lowest fare. If you're reasonably flexible with your plans, you can find the lowest fare easily. It is easy to find the lowest fare that is currently bookable betwe

    • Nearly all the other cheap airfare sites on the web use ITA's software (Orbitz, Bing, etc). The main concern with Google acquiring ITA wasn't that they would kill it - they fully intend to support it and integrate it with their other search offerings. Rather people were concerned that Google would cutoff all of ITAs current customers, or make them irrelevant by providing results directly in their search page.

  • by geekoid (135745) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {dnaltropnidad}> on Friday April 08, 2011 @07:11PM (#35764034) Homepage Journal

    trivially easy to check for air flights, and book tickets at the best price in about 2 years.

    • by SirKron (112214)
      Beta version in 12 months.
    • Let's just hope best price == lower price.
  • Southwest and American sell their tickets only at their own websites because they don't want to pay out commissions. If this is the trend, then where does ITA fit? Even if Google could search those sites through their APIs (if they have them), those airlines won't pay Google for referrals or "conversions" - so how does Google make money?
    • by zill (1690130)
      Ads? Recommending related services? Keeping competitors out?

      Also keep in mind that a large number of google services do not make any money (as far as I can tell). For example google calendar and google scholar. Running these services only cost google a trivial amount of money.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Southwest and American sell their tickets only at their own websites because they don't want to pay out commissions. If this is the trend, then where does ITA fit? Even if Google could search those sites through their APIs (if they have them), those airlines won't pay Google for referrals or "conversions" - so how does Google make money?

      Same way they do everywhere else, those little strips of advertising along the top, left and right margins. These will just be targeted toward travel things "Fantastic Bargain On Dramamine!", "Bob's Discount House Of Malaria Treatments!", "Airsickness Cures R Us", "Need A Good Thick Book For Layovers? We Have Books With Over 2,000 Pages!", "Bucky Pillow Warehouse" .. etc.

    • by Lokitoth (1069508)

      I cannot speak for Southwest, since I do not remember how it works with GDS, but American at least offers its tickets through the GDS system - though they do not pay commissions.

      One thing to consider, though, is that since people coming to their site from Kayak/ITA-powered searches can go directly to the flight that was found, the traffic is much more likely to do a booking than a general search for "flights" yielding an American or Southewest ad on Google. At that point, Google or Kayak can start demanding

  • by Anonymous Coward

    if a person p2ps a song in the midst of government collusion with the record companies, they get a $20K fine.

    if microsoft lies and colludes with the government to maintain a near 100% control of the desktop and office software market, and they are convicted, the judgement is thrown out.

    if microsoft buys control of a european handset maker, it's widely ignored.

    if google buys ip and patents related to airline search, they are tightly regulated and forced to license the core ip to all complainants.

    if google im

  • by Unknown Lamer (78415) <clinton@unknownla m e r.org> on Friday April 08, 2011 @08:07PM (#35764320) Homepage Journal

    There goes the market for Lisp programmers.

  • by jd (1658)

    The threat is less from Google shutting the development down but in data mining (which is their only real specialty anyway) and the potential threats to privacy that may result. Firewall policies are of no interest here if the information is published (even if only to paying customers).

  • So..... they didn't have any internal firewalls prior to this relatively small acquisition?
  • SkyScanner [skyscanner.com] is currently my favorite to find flight ticket prices, but its interface was better some months ago when you could still easily spot that it would be much cheaper to have the same trip a few days earlier, etc. I am the "gimme an interesting city somewhere around mid-October" kind of traveler, no support for that much in the travel industry yet.
  • When Google buys a flight booking site it's a big deal and the US government gets involved. But when Comcast buys NBC or AT&T buys T-mobile it's no problem?

    Also, inb4 bonch sees this and loses his shit!

  • Did MS have similar restrictions placed on it when it bought Farecast?

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