Archive for 23 September, 2011
While it is currently only for a handful of cities (including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Minneapolis) and for a few airlines (namely Delta, JetBlue, Continental and American Airlines) … oh and only the US – the introduction of Flight Search will be very interesting to watch as it is rolled out further.
In theory, Flight Search will allow you to search for flights by a variety of criteria including price, location and other combinations including duration, stopovers, even loyalty program etc. It has a simple and intuitive Google Maps style interface and lets you iteratively filter and fine tune an airfare search. This would get even more powerful if Google integrated tools like Street Map, Hotel search and so-on.
An early iteration was launched in May 2011 following Google’s purchase in July 2010 of ITA for US$700M. ITA is the developer of the airfare search and pricing system QPX that is used by major airlines. There are no clues yet whether this will follow a similar business model as Orbitz, TripAdvisor or Kayak which use QPX and whether Google has or will strike deals with airlines and prioritise ‘searches’ accordingly or whether Google Flight Search will remain definitive and neutral.
What has this got do with Entertainment?
I am glad you asked! The ITA/Flight Search model accesses various airline schedules and integrates these to offer one view of the various options. I wonder if Google has considered accessing or integrating with the various ticketing services to offer similar functionality for entertainment? It is an interesting idea that you could search what is on in a city independent of the ticketing service selling the event. That sounds like some of the various individual portal projects like www.seethis.com in Manchester or others from www.artsopolis.com to www.theatrebayarea.org. However, rather than develop such initiatives from scratch, imagine if Google just included such funtionality? The questions that remain is what business model Google envisages for Flight Search and what would the possibilities be for Event Search ™