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Google Flights – the search engine for your business and vacation getaways


Google is at it again. This time it appears to be testing out some form of flight search feature. We’ve seen this sort of thing from the company before of course, most recently with the launch and eventual retirement of the Google Real Estate listings which integrated properties for sale and rent on top of Google Maps.

Google Flights is similar, in that it incorporates flight information from most of the major airlines in a familiar Google search format. Again the interface is typically Google in that there’s no flim-flam on the page at all, unlike competitive products such as Just a search panel, and a map to help you work out destination options and pricing at a glance.


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Actually we like that instant price scan a lot, it really helps to show which areas are the best price at the moment for flights, which is perfect if you’re not sure where to go, but just want a cheapish option. While there’s no extraneous material on the page, you do get some very nifty options to filter your choices. For instance you can specify your preferred departure and return times if you hate those dawn chorus wake up calls to trudge to the airport.


You can also set price requirements, maximum travel duration and whether you want to go via any other cities, if you’re the globe trotting sort of traveler with the time and money to indulge your passion. All in all it’s a pretty cool little service, and the results are actually pretty good. The only problem is the search results can’t deliver budget airline pricing from services like Ryanair or Easyjet, presumably because they block 3rd party scraping in some way. But you do get their listings, just without a price.


As far as we can tell the new service is available for both the UK and US Google sites, and of course all versions come with some lovely little Adwords advertising blocks on the right hand side of the page. What’s really impressive though is the fact that once you’ve made your choice of outbound and return flights and are happy with the prices and terms, you click the Book button, and actually end up deep in the Checkout page of your chosen supplier.


With so many aggregate services like this, you typically end up on the front page and have to go through the whole laborious choice process again, which kind of defeats the object of the exercise. So all in all, we’re going to give this new trial service a big thumbs up. Of course by now we all know the drill, right? If we don’t use this service, Google will ‘retire’ it some time in the future, so do bear that in mind when you bookmark it for future reference. With Google, there’s no guarantee that what you see now will exist for any longer than a year or two at most. Caveat Emptor Peepi!

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