January 10, 2012

Google Flight Search angers web rivals

Google newest push into online travel has begun to roil the industry, the latest example of the company extending its market power into increasingly diverse aspects of economic life.

Competitors say Google is abusing its power in Web search to gain sway over the $110 billion online travel business.

Starting in December, Google began placing its new flight-search service atop general search results so that its own results appear prominently above links to major middlemen such as Expedia Inc., Orbitz Worldwide Inc. and Priceline.com Inc.

Google searches such as "NY to LA" now yield a Google-powered interactive chart of the cheapest airfares between the two cities. Google's flight tool links exclusively to the airlines' websites.

Pushed further down on the screen are links to top travel websites, which rely on Google for 10% to 20% of their traffic, according to web analytics firm Compete Inc.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal (free content)

Read also "Bing’s travel search and Kayak favoritism angers no one, while Google’s gets headline attention from WSJ" at Search Engine Land