A while back I blogged about Google buying ITA Software. In fact, it was only in April 2011, but seems much longer ago for some reason. Anyway, today Google have given us a first look at the new product that they have put together using the ITA Software that they acquired earlier this year.
If you search for flights in Google from today you should see a Flights link on the lefthand side below Everything. It is not visible yet from here (a bit outside London) but Google assure us on their blog that it is live in the USA.
I just did a flight search on Google.com and flight details are displayed in the search results;
For example, as search for “flights from new york to london” brings up this result:
Flights from New York, NY (all airports) to London, UK (all airports)
They display basic information about the flights available (number per day and duration) and also link to the main airlines. Each of the links goes to the homepage of the relevant sites. The only site which had flight details already entered ready for search was Virgin Atlantic, but it had them backwards. That I assume is them using Google search referral data and not Google searches fault though!
Google is selling its new service hard at the moment. It is highlighted that you can;
- “Get super-fast results”
- “Figure out when to travel”
- “See a simple list of the most relevant flights”
- “Consider your destination options.”
Not anything groundbreaking really, most sites do this already I think! – I take it back, there is more to it than I can see right now! Watch the video below
In true Google fashion they have released a promo video:
OK, the video does show it off pretty well. It is better than the affiliate sites manage. The dynamic time searches make finding the cheapest flights easier. More to it than the links I just saw!
The End of the Travel Affiliate?
As we discussed back in April, this really could mark the end of the travel affiliate business. Many people have built websites and got them ranking in Google for various flight searches and holiday searches. From their landing pages they then send people to the airline websites and take a commission on any tickets that are ordered. However, it seems that Google is going to very quickly circumnavigate these results.
The Google flight result was the first on the page after the Adwords adverts. So now SEO’s have to compete not only with PPC but also Google’s own referrals.
Some affiliates I have spoken with have already seen big drops in traffic in the last year, not only as a result of the Panda algo update. The big question is, who is next? Google bought up a restaurant review site the other day – will all restaurant review sites now be demoted below Google’s own results? What about all the quality local portals out there that take pride in giving local businesses a more personal service? Are they the next to be lost to the Internet Archives?
You can learn more about it on Google’s blog. But you really should discuss it here!