January 15th, 2015
The name ‘Google’ started as a search engine. Over the past decade, the company has dwelled into the mobile market with their ground-breaking Android OS and enjoyed amazing success. But at its core, the company still is a search-centric application provider.
After the successful deployment of Google Maps, naturally, there are some advancements to be made. Therefore Google has shifted its focus onto services which utilize the already existing (and massive) cartographic data. Enter Google Flight Search; an application designed for both desktop and mobile users and created as an augment of Google Maps. It is a simple as it sounds. The user can enter a destination and instantly get flight options thereto. The app will also let the user compare several flight options based on expense or time requirements. This is great for frequent flyers who had to previously rely completely on sources such as an Online Travel Agents (OTAs).
There are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, the app does not support ticket bookings yet. So although you can extensively compare flight plans, you cannot make one. However this might be a short-lived quirk as Google is already in talks for partnering with airlines , allowing for direct ticket booking through the app.
Secondly, this might affect the business of OTAs. This is not hard to imagine as online services have been known to impact the established supplier-dealer business structure. A good example is Flipkart. Although this may sound bad for the existing service providers, the ultimate benefactor is the consumer. Online services help create competition and also obviate some involved costs in the process, leading to an overall reduction in price.
Google had also launched a similar service called Google Hotel Search. The response to that app has been lukewarm but still, it is a useful app, even if it’s only used for cross-referencing information. The mobile market is a big pie and everyone wants a piece. Google has been a pioneer in service applications. The impact of such apps might be somewhat small at the time of launch but after a few years when the app ecosphere is given time to grow, it might become the go-to norm. In a market like India, there is serious money to be made with such apps.