Flight search by Google India- a threat to Online Price Aggregators

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Google Flight SearchHere is the news first reported by the leading Indian financial daily The Economics Times which is creating heebie-jeebies among India’s leading Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Cleartrip & Goibibo etc.

Why? As per prognosticating (bad for Online Aggregators, good for end consumers) reports Google Inc.’s Indian unit will be launching its own online flight price aggregator in very near future and this will be going to severely impact the businesses based on aggregation and comparison module.

Last month, Google launched a 'Start Searching India' campaign aimed at providing users with instant responses on weather and flight status, among other things. This move was read as precursor to the eventual launch of Flight Search in India. Google India said in May that it does not comment on future plans or speculation when asked about its plans to launch Flight Search in the country.

Flight Search – first launched in the US and then in parts of Europe – lets users compare fares offered by airlines and book tickets directly from airline websites. This could, in effect, make flight aggregators such as Makemytrip, Yatra and Cleartrip redundant, industry observers said. Another website, kayak.co.in lets users compare flight options from hundreds of travel sites at once.

The major online aggregators are now considering steps to protect their interest, including possible complaint to the competition commission. They are afraid that Google may use its awesome search engine algorithm to manipulate search results in its favors.
A similar complaint has already been lodged by leading Indian Matrimony website- Bharatmatrimony.com against Google search results and is pending under competition commission.




"We're always happy to answer questions about our business," the company said. KPMG's Tuteja said that Flight Search is likely to be popular among India's fast-growing internet user base—150 million at the end of 2012—that has been increasingly been booking travel tickets and hotels through online portals.

In Europe, Google's Flight Search is under pressure from travel portals such as Expedia and TripAdvisor, which have filed antitrust complaints against Google with the European Commission for promoting rival services and disrupting fair competition in the online travel space. Flight Search makes use of the vast amount of flight-related real-time information from US based travel information company ITA Software.

Google is slowly targeting new segments which have traditionally been fiefdoms of local Internet companies. Few weeks back Google has launched product listing ads to enhance end consumers online shopping experience by highlighting merchant's offering even more. Specially developed product listing advertisements (ads) will appear only when user will insert some shopping related queries on Google India search engine.

 

 




 





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