Google Buys ITA Software to Add Flight Search

Google announced the acquisition of ITA Software, a flight information software company from Massachusetts that develops software for airlines, travel agencies and technology companies. One of the many ITA customers is Microsoft, which used its technology to power Bing Travel:

“Bing, Microsoft’s new decision search engine, combines innovative fare prediction technology (previously known as Farecast) with the industry’s leading airfare pricing and shopping system by ITA Software to assist travelers to make faster and more informed choices.”

The list of sites that use ITA’s technology is impressive: Kayak, Orbitz, CheapTickets, Hotwire, FareCompare and more. Google intends to pay $700 million to acquire a long-established company that provides technology for some of the most popular flight search services.

Marissa Mayer says that Google will develop its own flight search service. “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.”

Right now, Google shows an OneBox that links to popular services like Expedia, Orbitz and Kayak:

In the future, Google will probably use the OneBox to promote its own service. ITA software offers an online demo of its technology, which includes cool features like interactive calendar for finding the lowest fares, real-time filters and color-coded bars that let you compare flights: