Web giant Google (GOOG) has finally launched its new Google Flights website based on software that it acquired through its buyout of travel software firm ITA Software.
In a blog post, Kourosh Gharachorloo, an Engineering Director at Google, said "Starting today, when you search for flight information on Google, for example 'flights from Chicago to Denver,' you will see a 'Flights' link in the left-hand panel. This link leads to our new Flight Search feature, and is offered in addition to the flight schedules which have been available since May. You can also access the Flight Search feature directly at google.com/flights."
People who use the new site can search results based on travel time and cost. Google said that these results are free of any commercial ties Google has to travel companies. Once the flight a user wants is found, Google Flights sends the traveler to the website of the airline that sells the ticket. The service even matches the search results to the specific page at the airline site where the ticket can be purchased.
Potential travelers may find that the service is not terribly different from those at Priceline, Expedia or Orbitz. Granted, these sites do have commercial relationships with airlines, but the companies say that flight searches are based on consumer preferences and not the commissions that the travel sites make.
Google Flights may be faster as a means to search multiple route and price options, but the difference between seconds and minutes may not be important to most travelers who want to explore their travel times and price options. The tool definitely helps people review choices but does not seem to have improved on the core software and e-commerce functions of travel sites which have existed for years.