Google and the purchase of ITA

Whilst I was sunning myself in the very lovely Dahab I was pondering the implications of the recently announced Google purchase of ITA. I fired off a couple of emails to colleagues to get their opinion of where this aquisition could be leading and the opinions were varied and wild which I think is explained by the Google bods playing their cards very close to their online chest.

The question I'm posing to myself is what with all the protestations from Google that they're not going to enter the realms of online travel these kind of acqusitions beg the questions what next for the internet giant?

My own view is that Google is perfectly placed to take the search and purchase of travel to the next level. Their experiments in displaying hotel content and price on Google maps (see image provided by Google). This functionality is very straightforward, a search on Google maps is run and you are offered the chnace to review the prices of hotels that have appeared in the reults, the data is pulled from advertised prices from sponsored links.

I think what is now widely accepted is that the more relevent a search can be the better for the end user, Google are perfectly placed to capatalise on Travel search as a huge vertical and you can guarentee with Google purchasing ITA they will definately have some interesting ideas up their sleeves or they just simply wouldn't have gone after it.