Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Take-off for Google Flight Search in UK


Take-off for Google Flight Search in UK

by Lee Hayhurst
by Lee Hayhurst

Google has rolled out Flight Search in the UK as part of a first move into international markets.
The product, which is the result of Google’s controversial buyout of software firm ITA, has been live in the US since September 2011.
Its speed and ability to search for flights according to a diverse range of criteria has made it the source of much speculation, although Google has not rolled it out as quickly as expected.
However, today’s launch in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands with local pricing and in eight languages ends speculation that Google has reined in its ambitions for Flight Search.
The main difference between the US and UK product is the absence of a commercial unit that sits at the top of natural search results.
Google said it was assessing this before deciding whether or not to include this in its international version.
Other than that the non-US version is an exact copy, the Google spokesman saying it was aimed at people in the early stages of research when they do not know where they want to go.
Using a map-based interface, Flight Search allows users to filter their results based on how much they want to spend and flight time.
The biggest omission for the European market is the absence of Ryanair and easyJet, although Google said negotiations were ongoing.
In terms of fulfilment partners, Google has struck deals with a number of European intermediaries including Bravo Fly, Budget Air and fly.co.uk.
The Google spokesman said: “These are big markets. The plan with all our products is to go global as quickly as we can.
“With something as complex as flights there are a lot more partners to negotiate with. This is the first market beyond the US, but logic would suggest there are more to come.”