Google Flight search is promising but still has a long way to go

Earlier this week Google launched its flight search , the groundwork for this feature had been laid by Google’s acquisition of ITA Software earlier this year.

Immediately after the acquisition it was pretty clear that eventually this product will be integrated into the Google search functionality, the search results had already started showing the flight data but now Google has gone a step further and launched a full fledged search functionality (although currently they are only supporting U.S. and plan to expand to its footprint in the future.

Here is my take on the functionality:

  1. Interface: Google as it is, is known for its simplified interfaces to make things easier for people. Full marks to Google for that. They have integrated many of the ITA search filters and made the look and feel pretty clean.
  2. Functionality: The integrated the Map feature on the search page itself which makes it easier to graphically look for the city pairs you want to try out, the feature is pretty similar to Kayak Explore but is much more smoother and user friendly. The best thing i liked was that the results were displayed instantaneously which has never been the case with any of the other meta-search engines.
  3. Filters: The price calendar and the Price-Duration slider filter are cool features which although are a standard on some other search engines too have been done well to fit in with the results. Plus they work pretty real time. The other filters like the airline/alliance, number of stops, timings and duration are pretty much industry standard.
Even though this is more of a Beta launch the product hasn’t been promoted that way which is quite unlike Google who like keep most of their products in perpetual Beta state.
From the initial look the product looks promising but i will still not use it that much given that it still has a long way to go. The flights in the search results were definitely not the cheapest and for that matter even all the possible routing as would have been expected from an ITA based product. I was able to find much better and nearly all of the combinations and pricing for a SFO-EWR on my favorite engine Hipmunk.
Google flight still has a long way to go in comparison to competitors like Kayak, Hipmunk and its very own ITA Software. But the given the money, resources and the creativity they have onboard i would love to see a much more improved result soon. Till then i would keep using the other 3 for my travel related needs.
I’ll leave you with this video about how the Google Flight Search works
Best of Luck Google!

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