?Google Flight? takes off despite strong opposition

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Google’s controversial new travel search engine, ?Google Flights,? took off on Sep 13th in US marking destinations providing best prices available for flights between different destinations.

However, the new search engine made a serious error soon after its inauguration on Tuesday showing the World Trade Center as an airport option for?New York City.

Google quickly fixed the error shortly after media reports on the error came out.

Before the update when a user typed ?New York? into the search bar, it lists all possible airports and would see the World Trade Center in position sixth with the word “unavailable” next to it.

The search engine uses data of both airports and helipads from the International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Before the ?Sept. 11 2001 attacks, the south tower had a helipad on its roof. The information Google was not updated after the 9/11 attack.

Americans are emotional when it comes to references related to 9/11 and Twin Towers. Recently, United Airlines was criticized for an ad outside the Ground Zero construction site that read, ?You’re going to love where we land.”

Google spokeswoman said, “Our intention with Flight Search is to provide information only about active airports. We are removing the WTC code now that we’re aware of it and we will look for other airports that need to come out as well.”

Google Fights was designed using its recently acquired $676m airline fare tracker ITA Software. Google will collect affiliate fee from travel websites when people click through the search engine to book flights. Flights can be sorted by travel date, time, airline and price.

Google?s deal faced fierce opposition from other companies in which the companies argued that Google would be able to benefit from its search engine. The US Justice Department approved the acquisition in April after a lengthy investigation, but imposed conditions including an agreement requiring Google to license ITA Software’s technology to other companies until 2016.

Google Flights were opposed by rivals such as Kayak, Travelocity and Microsoft’s Bing, which compete among themselves with discount travel booking Web sites.

Google Flight has both pros and cons. On the plus side, it is fast. The map also shows fares to alternative cities, a nice option for those considering going out for holidays.

On the negative side, the interface does not feature a user-friendly design. The user is forced to click back and forth to compare different flight options, non-intuitive date-flexibility tools, and, at least for the time being, the booking options are limited to a handful of cities and redirect only to airline-specific websites.

Henry Hartveldt of the Boston Globe said that he was unimpressed with the interface design; the booking button does not transfer the user?s travel dates and details to the airline?s website.

Google has promised to make its travel search engine easier and quicker to find the best prices being offered by airlines.

Sources: Guardian, msnbc.com

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