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Google Businesses Transportation

Google Shuts Off Airline Booking Tool in Search (bloomberg.com) 16

Google is pulling a software tool that let small companies access search information on airfares, a potential blow to online travel newcomers. From a report: Google's tool was opened in 2011 after its $700 million acquisition of ITA Software, an online airfare broker. In approving the deal, a federal judge required that Google keep an ITA flight search and pricing software, called QPX, accessible to third parties for at least five years. In 2014, Google created a cheaper version of the QPX software, called QPX Express, meant to target smaller companies and startups. Google shut that service down due to "low interest," according to a company spokeswoman. Google said it is keeping intact a version of the original software tool for corporate customers. Google used ITA's tool to create Google Flights, which aggregates airline prices directly inside its powerful search engine.
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Google Shuts Off Airline Booking Tool in Search

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  • When Google purchases a company and then kills it, leaving a hole in the market, that leaves room for medium sized companies to expand and for startups to come back and serve the general demands and niches.
    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2017 @02:13PM (#55471265) Journal
      Google did not kill the company. It is making tons of money. It is removing a lower cost product made by that company.

      The ITA fare comparison tool is a breakthrough, as big as the Page Rank of web sites. Fare comparison is essentially a multiple traveling salesman problem. The key insight to find usable solution quickly was to precompute the cost matrix for some heavily used sectors and cache precomputed solutions to build larger and larger precomputed solutions.

      It was developed by a President's Gold Medal winner from IIT Madras. (Chant: "Who won the GC?" "We wont the GC!") Who is still running the division. Used to be the CTO, now some VP/GenManager

      It was considered such a break through, Google buying it and cutting off the access would immediately cripple Expedia, Priceline, MakeMyTrip and all their clones. It was declared a de-facto monopoly and was ordered to provide the same service at the same price to all comers including Google. There is supposed to be a wall between Google and ITA. The consent decree has expired, and slowly Google is consolidating the business. It is probably negotiating with existing players in the field and they probably demanded the low cost version to be shuttered. This benefits existing players like Expedia. Google is free now to give itself a sweeter deal. Or it could stay out of retail and sell global price search algorithms to existing players. At the level Google is in, it would rather be a behind scenes toll collector than selling this stuff retail.

    • Google isn't killing it.

      Google is keeping it all to itself, which is a HUGE difference.

      Sure, other's can provide a similar service, but they are still doing so in competition with Google. Good luck with being a startup trying to raise funding. You'll probably get some, but everybody knows there isn't much upside, as Google will redirect most searches for airline info to itself. You've got to have really deep pockets to get any kind of traction.

  • If the plan was to not advertise it, and sell it to the "savvy" customer, it worked apparently.

  • I remember applying to ITA pre-google. They had some sweet programming questions on their website. It was basically a contest. They would interview anyone who could solve the questions and the questions were damn tough to solve. Hope they kept the same process after joining Google instead of going over to Google's general process of hiring based upon whether the team is comfortable with the guy they are hiring. (not too dumb but more importantly not too much smarter than the rest of the team). Google actual

Real programs don't eat cache.

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