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Google launches Flight Search service, Kayak shrugs it off (video)

Amar Toor, @amartoo
09.14.11
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Google's DOJ-approved acquisition of ITA has finally borne fruit, in the form of Flight Search -- a new tool that aims to streamline the chaos that is online travel booking. The Mountain View contingent unveiled the interface yesterday, with an "early look" at what appears to be a fairly straightforward service. Once you enter your starting point, destination, price range and duration, a list of results will appear in ascending order of fare and duration, below a map displaying each flight's trajectory. From there, you can filter your results by airline, number of layovers or specific departure times, before booking your itinerary on the carrier's site (Google was careful to point out that flight selection and results will not be "influenced by any paid relationships"). At the moment, the service is restricted to a select group of US cities and only features round-trip economy class flights, but Google says future updates and expansions are on the way. We're eager to see how the company dresses up this relatively bare bones platform and, perhaps more importantly, how competing travel sites react to it. Kayak, for one, responded with confident nonchalance to Flight Search, explicitly describing it as an inferior product. "We're confident in our ability to compete, and we believe our flight search technology is superior," the company said, in a statement. "We recognize Google is a formidable competitor but they haven't been successful in every vertical they've entered." Let the games begin. Demo video after the break.


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