For those who doesn’t know, Google purchased ITA for almost $700M last July 2010. Google Search is a very powerful search engine tool and now with ITA they are planning to extend their online applications – as a result they have created Google Flights. By the way, ITA is a software company that offers flight information which makes it easier for the end-users when they plan to travel.
And so I took the liberty to try the new Google Flights feature but I did not actually booked a flight since I don’t have any plans as of the moment to board and besides the offered flights were still limited – mostly US-based airports. The drop-down list is limited to the following routes:
- San Francisco Int’l(SFO)
- Metropolitan Oakland Int’l(OAK)
- San Jose – Norman Y. Mineta Int’l(SJC)
- Santa Rosa – Sonoma Country(STS)
- Monterey Peninsula(MRY)
- Modesto Municipal (MOD)
- Sacramento Int’l(SMF)
Inbound/Arrival Locations(Non-specific Airports):
- Las Vegas, NV
- New York, NY
- Chicago, IL
- San Dieg, CA
No doubt, the Google Flights user-interface is quite fast and the design is plain and simple. For each click you do, the result will instantly display and show you all the options where you can select from. Here’s a small video I created showing you an overview of how you can book a flight with Google Flights but this is just an overview and I did not completed the booking – meaning I only reached up until the payment page.
How will this affect all travel website major players in the industry? One way or another, Google Flights will surely pose a possible threat to them since the end-users will be opted to maximize and utilize Google (while they’re on Google Search home page) whenever they wanted to search for “cheap flights”. An example is if the user wanted to search for “cheap flights to las vegas” and on Google homepage, the user will just need to click on “Flights” from the left pane of their browser and then BAMM! The user will be redirected to the Google Flights homepage.
It might not be in an instant but it’s possible that sooner or later organic searches towards known travel websites will diminish little by little. I think these players should plan ahead on how can they deal with Google’s latest feature – Google Flights.
For more information, check out Google Flights’ video: