Google offers flight search option in India
Google has launched the ‘Flight Search’ option in India. Flight Search was first launched in the US and then in parts of Europe and it lets users compare fares offered by airlines and then book tickets directly from airline websites. The new offerings will be contested by flight aggregators such as Makemytrip, Yatra and Cleartrip as they fell it will eat into their search revenues. Websites like kayak.co.in lets users compare flight options from hundreds of travel sites at once.
Sources say that aggregators might consider complaining to the Competition Commission to protect their interests. They claim discrimination by Google when it comes to search results for queries relating to online travel.
Recently Google has been under fire from Competition Commission, after reports of them abusing dominance in the country’s search engine market. In February 2013, matrimonial site Bharatmatrimony.com had filed a complaint against Google.
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.
When asked about market rivals planning to approach the Competition Commission, Google denied any knowledge of the matter stating, they will extend “full assistance and cooperation on the matter.” Online travel firms such as Yatra. com,Makemytrip and Goibibo declined to comment.
KPMG’s Akhilesh 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. However, travel portals such as Cleartrip have been skeptical about Google’s effort. Hrush Bhatt founder of Cleartrip commented “We are not sure what value Flight Search would add to consumers, especially if it can only let you compare prices.”
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