The Justice Department recently approved the purchase of ITA software by the search giant Google. The purchase actually took place eight months ago and the US Justice Department has been reviewing the deal to make sure it doesn’t violate anti trust laws. After some tweaking of the deal it was approved. What does this mean to the everyday traveler? Probably not a lot. ITA software handles reservations, pricing and data aggregation. ITA’s customers are airlines, reservation sites such as Hotwire and Kayak, and search engines such as Bing.
With this purchase Google has control of the software that drives the majority of the travel industry. I don’t really see a downside from the travelers point of view. It makes it harder for other companies to compete in the industry, but it really doesn’t affect prices or services to the traveler.
It does make you wonder what the next step is going to be. Is Google going to open up a site that will compete against it’s customers? Will there be a Google reservations systems that will compete with the Expedia’s, Priceline’s and Orbitz of the travel business. But why stop there, how about Google rent a cars, and maybe even a Google chain of hotels.
Just as Walmart scared everyone and still does a few people, Google’s technology, purchases and expansion will surely scare people. As far as this one goes I don’t see any effects from the travelers point of view.
What are your thoughts?