Google will acquire ITA Software, a flight information software company, for $700 million, the companies said today.
No, the company isn't planning to get into the airline ticket sales business. Instead, this is all about aggregating flight information through search and directing traffic from search results - and of course, advertising - to airline and online travel agency sites where travelers could purchase tickets.
Google has long said that the more time people spend on the Internet, the more it benefits Google in the long run but did not share any of its plans about how flight search tools would appear on Google pages or how they would be monetized. In a blog post, Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products & User Experience at Google, said:
Google has already come up with new ways to organize hard-to-find information like images, newspaper archives, scholarly papers, books and geographic data. Once we’ve completed our acquisition of ITA, we’ll work on creating new flight search tools that will make it easier for you to search for flights, compare flight options and prices and get you quickly to a site where you can buy your ticket.
The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approval.