Google Granted Approval for Takeover of ITA
Google has been granted approval by the US Justice Department to continue its takeover of the travel search and recommendation company ITA, however the catch is that they have been banned from utilising its market position to further the company’s goals.
Google, which has been accused of anti-competitive practices by a numbe r of companies and is currently under investigation in a number of areas, have been told to maintain with rival flight search sites for five years, as well as its research and development funding.
Google will also have to ensure the privacy of ITA’s customers after doubts were raised over its privacy policies due to the Street View Wi-Fi fiasco.
Other travel firms, such as Expedia, Kayak and TripAdvisor, had lobbied against the takeover as they believed that ITA having Google’s backing wouold lead to their being disregarded in Google’s search engines. However Google claim this will not happen.
Google’s senior vice president of commerce and local, Jeff Huber, commented on the deal, stating “How cool would it be if you could type ‘flights to somewhere sunny for under $500 in May’ into Google and get not just a set of links but also flight times, fares and a link to sites where you can actually buy tickets quickly and easily?”