This week saw Bing announce a really cool new feature - Bing travel and a nice add on to their 'decision engine', flight status. That's right, if you 'Bing' the keyphrase 'flight status' you'll be presented with a box like the one below.
Enter your desired airline and flight number and you'll get instant live flight information. Very handy, a big step forward from the days of checking the teletext and waiting for page 12 of 27 pages of flight information, daring not to dive into the kitchen or to the toilet incase you missed it! This a great sign of innovation in search and for it to come from Bing is good news for everyone as it seems to be looking to provide a real alternative to you know who in some sectors.
With this news, it should then come as little surprise to anyone to hear Google's latest play this week. In (what seems like a ) response to the waves Bing is making in the travel sector, with flight tracking and their new Bing travel section Google seems to have taken things a bit personally and as a result has gone ahead and agreed to buy flight information from the ITA, a snip at a reported $700 million dollars. Not great news for any of the exisiting flight comparison engines or even some of the bigger players such as Expedia.
It is going to be interesting to see what Google does with all of the data, they are pledging that they will use the data for innovation and not simply as a vehicle for selling tickets, which is likely to be true, but even in the ever expanding bank of Google, $700 million is still not to be sniffed at and a big commercial decision. How this develops over the coming months could have a big impact on the digital marketing landscape that may go further than just the travel sector as it is likely this will be the start of big data sharing deals.