Google officially announced the availability of its Flight Search service in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, with search features enabling users to find information in 8 languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician and Dutch) as well as prices in local currencies.
The user centric features enable travelers to find flights quickly, discover places to go on a map, figure out the best time to travel, and evaluate a simple list of the most relevant flights.
But beyond user benefits, it is important to understand how the move will impact local carriers. Currently, offers from Ryanair, Swiss, Lufthansa, and easyJet cannot be searched with Google Flight Search in the aforementioned countries.
Aside these airlines, Google Flight Search will also be entering in direct competition in the SERPs with flight metasearch engines and comparison sites, like Skyscanner, Cheapflights, Travel Supermarket, and so on. This happens as Google will give priority to search results from Google Flight Search, against more popular user choices at the moment. In the screen below, you’ll note that Google already inserts Google Flight Search results ahead Skyscanner in the UK. The same is valid for France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
It took Google almost two years after launching Google Flight Search USA to go international. But the search giant is now expanding its successful product to new markets, and from here, we can only expect new additions to the international portfolio of Flight Search. The growth may appear positive for Google at the first sight, but we need to consider local businesses in Europe, and legislation that could deep Google’s move as unfair competition.