We’ve all been waiting to see what cool stuff Google would do once it closed its recent purchase of ITA Software, and now we’ve seen our first change. How awesome is it? It’s not. At all.
Now, when you do a search for something like “LA to Chicago,” you get this:
That’s right. It just gives you a big, gnarly list of the nonstop flights that operate within the next week. There is no fare information and there is very little detail. It only shows the departure time, arrival time, airports, airline, flight number, and days of operation. In other words, it’s just straight schedule information and that means it’s not even using ITA Software for anything. (I should note that this doesn’t dominate the whole page – you have to click a box to expand the results.)
So, who does this help? Um, I guess someone who needs the next flight to Chicago? Google says in a blog post that this can help people plan summer vacations. Give me a break. It doesn’t give availability or pricing information at all. That makes it completely useless. It’s certainly far less useful than the previous setup which had a search box that you could use to find fares on a few different websites.
What if you really do just want flight schedules? Isn’t it somewhat helpful? Not really. I mean, it only works for travel within the next week. I tried “LA to Chicago August 10” and nothing came up. In fact, most of the results on the first page were for restaurants while a couple were about Cubs/Dodgers games. There wasn’t a single travel-related result.
This is also only available if you type in cities with nonstop flights. I tried “LA to Birmingham” and got nothing. The first two results were for the LA Quinta Inn in BIRMINGHAM. The only air travel-related result was for FareCompare down toward the bottom.
I honestly can’t figure out why Google bothered with this. It’s usefulness is minimal at best, and it certainly doesn’t deserve a spot at the top of the results. Let’s just hope that when Google does start implementing some of what ITA can do, it’s a lot better than this.