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Google Flight Search Engine Debuts
bw100

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 10:17 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google has started to roll out its new flight search engine, which is based on technology from ITA Software, a maker of air-travel flight-information software Google bought for US$700 million.

Now, when users enter flight-related queries in Google's main search page, Google will display an airplane icon labeled Flights in the results page left-hand column that when clicked upon will take users to the new search engine.

People can also go directly to the flight search engine's page by going to google.com/flights [url]. [google.com...]

[news.idg.no ]

Google's spin on this
[insidesearch.blogspot.com ]

 

bw100

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 10:20 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

And away we go! (With apologies to Jackie Gleason)

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 1:34 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Kayak said today that the company isn't afraid of a competitive threat from Google.

"We're confident in our ability to compete, and we believe our flight search technology is superior," the company told TechCrunch in a statement.

We recognize Google is a formidable competitor but they haven't been successful in every vertical they've entered. We use multiple data sources and proprietary technology, all of which helps us in our efforts to provide people with comprehensive, fast and accurate answers to their flight search needs." [ibtimes.com...]

Widgets with Adsense will probably come next surely and this may spread outside the US/Canada.

Is there a place for meta search companies to really compete in the face of Google taking hold of large chunks of strategic data?

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 2:14 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

The "takeovers" are rolling out rather rapidly... might speak of a touch of stock holder payout desperation... or a really evil plan to take over the world! (Brain and Pinky, Bwahahahaha!)

And if folks think about this 1993 cartoon, might find much to consider regarding Google these days...

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 7:38 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

or a really evil plan to take over the world!


^ that ^

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 10:26 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

i like the way they introduce it with a little tiny 'flights' link, tucked away on the left sidebar which no one will notice. how long will that last? give it a few months and they'll start listing flights directly above the serps.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 11:39 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Can't see OTA's in the game in 5 years time in the US/Canadian domestic scene. Google has way more resources to out muscle any OTA. Also many points in Europe and around the globe, but not all places. Some servcing is too complex and some areas are dominated by brands that can reject Google

But ....

First you get the display > direct to airline
>> bye bye OTA flight search competitive advantage
Then Google put's widgets through it's publishing network
>> bye bye OTA's and their affiliates

Then Google integrates a booking funnel
>> introduce hotel search
>> integrate car rental
>> bye bye substantial slice of the OTA's hotel sales

Next comes improved hotel search
>> bye bye hotel control of channels , you have to sign up your site and hotel profiles ( give it time )
>> bye bye independent inventory tools, Google just bought the No1 hotel switch like ITA
>> hello hotel funnel , do you want flight / auto rental options ?

Next comes auto rental , cruises, restaurants , my mother in law

Then
>> bye bye any competing organic searches - i mean why would you need them if Google has all the info

I'm not sure how their monetization model or how the Fed intends to implement it's anti trust controls , but it's not pretty for the established OTA /Airline /Hotel markets in my view. Google has the position.

Gobble gobble Google goes the goose / US/Canadian travel industry

I wonder if China will control it's search engines this tightly in time.

[edited by: Whitey at 11:42 am (utc) on Sep 14, 2011]

bw100

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 11:39 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

SearchEngineLand has its usual good reporting on this new Google tool
[searchengineland.com ]
including the following observation
Google said itís still experimenting with the model. Itís not entirely clear what would happen if the selected airline were not an advertiser. Are only advertiser flights being included in the data presented? I assume not. However when most travel sites such as Kayak or Orbitz deliver a user to an airline or hotel site thereís lead-gen fee or bounty paid. And Google may have struck agreements with all the major carriers accordingly.(emphasis is poster's)

This seems to be consistent with their apparent leadgen monetization approach to financial service products in Google Advisor [google.com ]

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 11:53 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Itís not entirely clear what would happen if the selected airline were not an advertiser

...c'mon , who said that. Give them candy for free until they become dependant, make them a slave to the machine for the rest of their lives 'til they get exhausted, then put them in the hospitals and charge for the treatment and leave the burial to the relatives to pay for. It's not pretty - but some call it clever marketing.

That's what's happening to the entire digital industry in the large data driven verticals. Business listings are not far behind. No wonder China and Russia want to control it for their own purposes through their local search engines.

If you don't have visibility, you're simply not in the game and this is moving towards very big business relationships, where the economies of scale dominate.

The US/Canadian airline industry just got a degree warmer.

Web_speed



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 1:08 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

i like the way they introduce it with a little tiny 'flights' link, tucked away on the left sidebar which no one will notice. how long will that last? give it a few months and they'll start listing flights directly above the serps.


Are you kidding me.... its already up there at the top of the page. I just did a search for a US city to city destination and Google flights was right there at the very top of the page abusing their insane power in broad day light.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 1:58 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

The "flights" link is visible from outside the USA ( France ) if you search for any USA city to city flight too..as you would if you were looking for connecting flights etc ..

lexipixel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 2:50 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

My predictions are taking hold faster than I thought -- 5 days ago I said it here: [webmasterworld.com...]


Makes sense -- hotels first...
[google.com...]
...now restaurants.

PREDICTION: next will be realtime airfare comparisons.

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 4:18 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is like a Mall owner selling all products at the mall entrance.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 5:47 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

^ Good point. ^

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 9:44 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

All large aggregated data feeds will go the same way or get squeezed to virtual oblivion, except folks at the level of Ebay ... but you never know.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 9:49 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Until the great unwashed wisen up to what is happening.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 11:01 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is like a Mall owner selling all products at the mall entrance.

Not to mention that in many cases the mall owner has moved (now) competing stores to the basement, removed their store sign and when /if someone finds them they have placed 5-10 people with signs, urging them to go to another store.

We need to let people know that X is no longer a mall, they lied to get the traffic to the mall and now are exploiting it.

Web_speed



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 3:23 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is like a Mall owner selling all products at the mall entrance.


Google has such an insane power it goes beyond belief. Policy makers are still fast asleep unfortunately. This is much worse then the Microsoft case. This company MUST BE broken up.

Amazing how the guys at Bing and Yahoo are still unable to come up with an Adsense equivalent ?(!) This will be their only *real* chance of beating this giant in its own game. Imagine seeing the Bing/Yahoo/Ask search boxes (instead of the Google ones) everywhere you go. How hard is that for them to understand and immediately implement?

All they (Bing/Yahoo/Ask) have to do is match or better a little whatever peanuts Google are paying to webmasters nowadays and watch the scales tip. Fast!

Web_speed



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 3:33 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

except folks at the level of Ebay ... but you never know.


I've been running a shop on ebay for almost 7 years now...lately sales are down to almost nothing except for some "out of the blue" sales to countries I'm not sure i even knew existed. Ebay's traffic like everyone else's is greatly influenced by Google updates. And the recent update is sending (ebay too) junk traffic and this is killing many sellers there and ebay as a whole (slowly but surly).

Google has almost complete control over the flow of traffic on the web. When they sneeze the entire web catch a cold....I've seen it on ebay, I've seen it on my content web sites, I've seen it on my affiliate web sites, I've seen it on my business clients web sites.....Google has the entire web by the balls (sorry for the french) and its about time something is done about that.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 4:06 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

All they (Bing/Yahoo/Ask) have to do is match or better a little whatever peanuts Google are paying to webmasters nowadays and watch the scales tip. Fast!

All Bing has to do is what Google USED TO DO, and already do FASTER and CLEANER. The tide has turned. Even Obama discovered that!

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 11:58 am on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ Web_speed, Re: eBay...

Its kinda off topic for this post, but eBay killed itself. Google has nothing (or very little at best) to do with their demise. eBay thought they wanted to be an Amazon and decided to take the route of a cheap-commerce site, abandoning the little-people who helped make it popular, and skyrocketing the fees for non-store users. The downside is that everyone ALREADY used Amazon for that, and the core eBay user, mom and pop, sis and bro... deserted it for everywhere else, told all their friends to go elsewhere, and now the only thing eBay has left are cheap brand goods... and few buyers.

Wait... maybe it is related to this post. I spot a message in there somewhere! :-)

MH

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 5:50 pm on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Let's hope that Google doesn't get outrageously opportunistic and have a Travel link from its main menu on the home page, with dropdowns to, say,...

Search flights
Find hotels
Get airfare deals

...and... at the top of major destination-related serp... feature booking forms and price comparisons for both flights and hotels, presenting comparison data in ways not possible for independent travel agencies or individual hotels. Google might even put beautiful travel photos on its home page (hint hint wink wink nudge nudge).

That would be crossing a line, and it would put many past, present (and future?) clients at a big disadvantage. I wouldn't be happy about it at all.

Hmmm. Sounds familiar... where am I seeing this now?

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 6:26 pm on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Let's hope that Google doesn't get outrageously opportunistic and have a Travel link from its main menu on the home page, with dropdowns to, say,...


It will happen.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 6:42 pm on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

That would be crossing a line, and it would put many past, present (and future?) clients at a big disadvantage. I wouldn't be happy about it at all.

Well see what they did with offers, credit cards, loans, bank accounts and expect even worst for travel. [google.com...]
Ya think that others (and consumers) will be at disadvantage when Google puts their service on top of every search and most likely adsense? Who will try to open another travel search engine, only to be copied and destroyed by Google given its reach?

...and at the top of major destination-related serps feature booking forms and price comparisons for both flights and hotels, presenting comparison data in ways not possible for independent travel agencies or individual hotels. Google might even put beautiful travel photos on its home page (hint hint wink wink nudge nudge).

Google stopped copying the Bing images, but they kept the interface.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 9:11 pm on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

It will happen.

My point is that it has happened. The examples I cite are from Bing's main menu, and I haven't seen nearly this degree of outrage about Bing's approach. IMO, the Travel results on Bing should have been the starting point for many of the complaints in this discussion. Do a search for the word [hawaii] in Bing and in Google, and tell me what you see.

Google has long shown a booking box when you search both a departure city and a destination city and the word "flights", but only when you get that precise; Google has been more discreet about it than Bing. Maybe Google is aware that it's walking on bigger eggshells and needs to be sneakier about it.

I forget exactly what the Bing homepage was like when it started, but as I remember "Travel" was something like one of four links on the page. Yahoo puts its 'partner' verticals in the left column, apart from the ads. My point is that all the engines (or portals) have them.

There's generally a price markup at every point along the vendor chain, so the smaller guys in any vertical may either get squeezed out or they may have an advantage in price... albeit not in efficiency... assuming there's sufficient inventory available to them. This latter, in my experience, is where the squeeze in flight search has really happened.

Google stopped copying the Bing images, but they kept the interface.

Google hasn't had the art smarts to copy Bing images,.and they weren't even close to the quality of the Bing images when they tried. I've always felt that Bing's art direction is responsible for a significant part of Bing's appeal.

Google is extremely good, though, at organizing information.

walkman



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 10:50 pm on Sep 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

My point is that it has happened. The examples I cite are from Bing's main menu, and I haven't seen nearly this degree of outrage about Bing's approach. IMO, the Travel results on Bing should have been the starting point for many of the complaints in this discussion. Do a search for the word [hawaii] in Bing and in Google, and tell me what you see.

I searched and all I see more ad for Hawaii on Bing. I have no idea why, but I sincerely doubt Google is holding back on ad placements. I see no travel info. You need to understand that having a 65%-95% search market is totally different from 15% or 2% (in some EU countries). One drives companies out of business, the other causes them a few % loss. If you don't believe me, just look what Google said about MS back in the day. You don't see people complaining about Blekko for example because they have a limited impact. But when Google copies their ideas, they are felt.

Google is extremely good, though, at organizing information.

Google is extremely good, though, at organizing even the most private information about people and monetizing it to death. Your dear company has stopped innovating, now it's a matter of defending what they got--by monopolist means--and monetizing it to death.

But Google's greatest 'asset' is that they now have no shame nor decency. They always pushed the limits, starting with 'reading' people's emails and probably storing profiles of their lives based on what the emails said. All for a $.

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 2:21 am on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

But Google's greatest 'asset' is that they now have no shame nor decency.

6. You can make money without doing evil.

Whatever happened to "Do no evil"? Someone has to redefine evil.

2. Itís best to do one thing really, really well.

They are trying to do and be everything now. Phones, cars, OS, travel agents, ...

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 8:02 am on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

You need to understand that having a 65%-95% search market is totally different from 15% or 2% (in some EU countries). One drives companies out of business, the other causes them a few % loss.

Great post Walkman.

I do not think people in the USA appreciate just how powerful Google is elsewhere. In the UK it accounts for about 95% of all searches.

With that sort of reach they can do anything they want outside of the USA ... and they do. The sad thing is that here in the UK our politicians are too interested in scoring points off each other to appreciate where this is going.

I have been proposing a not for profit search engine in here for years and I have often been ridiculed for this but I sincerely believe that this is the only way forward. No commercial enterprise should have control of the World's information. </endrant>


.

chrisuk

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 3:48 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah in the UK its Google or Google. The PPC and natural clicks you get from Bing are so low it barely registers, you just can't spend even if you wanted to. Yahoo same problem.

These two have irritating editorial also which further impact their usefulness, they don't make it easy to improve their PPC market share. You can rank easily enough in the organics but again top listings just send a trickle.

Its kinda like having one supermarket (Google) and if you don't like the prices you starve. Google is a business killer like no other, not just mum and dad shops but big big companies as well who probably thought they were quite safe in the days when Google was just search and being an affiliate was easy.

If the UK had just one supermarket or bank it would get broken up or squeezed to allow new players, yet if you are in search...

I think politicians and regulators are essentially too slow to the table and Google knows it.

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4362144 posted 4:07 pm on Sep 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Did anyone notice the fail?

If you google for "Google flight search"

The search results description text is


We have detected that you are using an unsupported web browser. We support Firefox 3.5 or later, Chrome, Safari 4 or later, or Internet Explorer 8 or later. ...


I guess they didn't optimize the page for googlebot lol

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