Google has won regulatory approval for its $700 million deal to buy ITA Software, but the Justice Department intends to keep a close eye on the search giant.
The proposed settlement, which still must be approved by a federal judge, requires Google to continue licensing ITA’s travel technology to rivals for five years on “reasonable and nondiscriminatory” terms. Some of those rivals, such as Kayak and Hotwire, formed FairSearch.org to oppose the deal.
While that provision was expected, the agency also required Google to forward to it any complaints the company receives from travel competitors upset about where they land in Google’s search rankings. It’s short of forcing Google to alter its search algorithms, something the company would be loath to do. But it does put the government one step further into Google’s core business.
The deal, announced today, requires Google to continue to license software from the Cambridge, Mass., company, which feeds the most popular travel Web sites data, on reasonable terms. That’s important to companies such as Expedia, Kayak, and Hotwire, which worry that Google will set up a rival site and not give them information necessary to compete.
As we noted in the headline of this post Google is getting MORE than the airline travel database.
Google is also acquiring another product developed by ITA Software named Needlebase (aka Needle).
From what we’ve seen and used this is one impressive product. It can crawl the web, find and retrieve data, and turn it into a robust searchable and browsable database. Plus, you can look at the data from multiple views including interactive maps, and other visualizations.
In other words, find uncontrolled content and turn it into a controlled info quickly, easily, and effectively.
If Google has plans to create new services using open data (we bet they have many) and/or improve Google Base (pretty much all gone at this point) and/or Google Squared they now have the technology to do it and do it well in terms of the technology they have access to.
See Also: You Can Use the ITA Airline Info Database Direct from ITA
You can’t purchase tickets but you’ll get all of the info you need and more so you can call the air carrier and purchase the ticket. Mobile versions of ITA are available for Android and iPhone/Pad/Touch. Both apps are free.
All ITA products have it all. Easy to use, provide sizable amounts of data, and look great. Google gets a +1 today. (-: