Despite being the US governments new whipping boy, the Feds have surprisingly cleared Google’s purchase of ITA Software (who organizes airline data).
Although Google is celebrating the approval (which puts the US airline industry at Google’s mercy), the Justice Department did layout some guidelines to ensure the search giant doesn’t trample upon the industry.
Under the proposed settlement, Google will be required to continue to license ITAâ€™s QPX software to airfare websites on commercially reasonable terms.Â QPX conducts searches for air travel fares, schedules and availability.Â Google will also be required to continue to fund research and development of that product at least at similar levels to what ITA has invested in recent years.Â Google will also be required to further develop and offer ITAâ€™s next generation InstaSearch product to travel websites, which will provide near instantaneous results to certain types of flexible airfare search queries.Â InstaSearch is currently not commercially available, but is in development by ITA. (Department of Justice)
As highlighted in the video below, Google purchased ITA Software in order to enhance their own search results, which will help them remain relevant in an age where Â social search is seen as the next step for organizing the web.
Unfortunately there is no word on whether Google has to share their data with Bing! or Yahoo!, which could put their search rivals in the US as a severe disadvantage.