Search engine giant Google took the travel industry by storm last week with a $700 million purchase of ITA Software, a flight-information software company.
ITA offers flight times, availabilities and prices to airlines and Web sites that include: TripAdvisor, Bing, Hotwire, Orbitz, Continental, American Airlines, and Alitalia.
The multi-million-dollar deal would not only put Google in direct competition with Web sites such as Kayak and Cheapflights.com, but it potentially could transform the online travel industry.
For several months, the rumor mill had been churning with news of Google’s interest in ITA, causing the travel industry’s key players to scramble to position themselves.
Several travel Web sites, including Kayak.com, threw in competing bids to buy the Boston-based ITA, but were outbid by Google.
Google’s purchase would give the company control of ITA’s ubiquitous flight pricing software, making Google a force to be reckoned with in the travel world.