Google buying ITA Software for 700 million dollars

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The Independent Online

Internet giant Google announced on Thursday that it was buying ITA Software, a flight information software company, for 700 million dollars in cash.

Google said its purchase of the Massachusetts-based company "will create a new, easier way for users to find better flight information online."

"The acquisition will benefit passengers, airlines and online travel agencies by making it easier for users to comparison shop for flights and airfares," the Mountain View, California-based company said.

The Internet search and advertising giant stressed it "won't be setting airfare prices and has no plans to sell airline tickets to consumers."

"Our goal is to build a tool that drives more traffic to airline and online travel agency sites where customers can purchase tickets," Google said.

ITA, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, specializes in organizing airline data, including flight times, availability and prices.

Google vice president Marissa Mayer said nearly half of all airline tickets are now sold online.

"But for many people, finding the right flight at the best price is a frustrating experience," Mayer said.

"Pricing and availability change constantly, and even a simple two city itinerary involves literally thousands of different options," she said.

"We'd like to make that search much easier," Mayer said. "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.

"We're confident that by combining ITA's expertise as the leading developer of flight information software with Google's technology we'll be able to create great user innovations in flight search," Mayer said.

ITA was founded in 1996 by a team of computer scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Its flight data organization tool is used by online travel agencies and airlines including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and others.