Back in March care of a reliable source I broke the rumour/story that Google was about to launch a travel meta-search product. Then Tnooz broke the story that the rumour was true and Google was seen inserting pricing and supplier bidding information to google map search results.
The biggest worry that Google has in getting into the travel meta-search space is how to catch up in technology. It is important to realise that each developer that Google diverts away from the core algorithm and ad platform carries a large opportunity cost. Even in a world of twenty percent time, Google is very conscious of the cost of putting developers on the expensive and complicate work involved in specific sector search rather than general search. The biggest question hanging over a travel meta-search play therefore was how would Google find the time and resources to build the product.
Looks like we might have the answer - and it has nothing to do with "building".
Story coming out of BusinessWeek that Google is in talks to buy ITA Software, one of the worlds biggest independent travel booking software makers who count Orbitz (disclosure), Bing, India's cleartrip, Expedia's Hotwire and Kayak as customers. Would certainly provide Google with all the tech they would need to launch a top flight meta-product. And on the entertainment front, would make the relationship between Microsoft and Google even more interesting.
hat tip to Paul Fisher who alerted me to the story via Twitter