Google quietly rolled out a test version of its new flight search engine limited to US domestic flights to major cities, linking to major airlines’ websites for booking. USA Today and Deals We Like reported on the functionality, and this tragic bug (quickly rectified). The data is pulled from its acquisition of ITA Software, and search is Google-fast. Users of Kayak will feel at home with a similar array of filters.
Here is a Miami – Los Angeles search:
1. Calendar: the drag and drop calendar, with time bars, is fast and flexible.
2. The map, seen above, is a great graphical counterpoint to Kayak Buzz for browsing lowest fares where flexible on destination, such as mileage run searches. Unfortunately the map does not update with flight selections; visualizing connections would be useful for both those trying to minimize and maximize mileage.
Verdict: eventually may be a good alternative to Kayak, but the current differentiating features are limited to those with flexible dates and/or flexible destinations. Wait and see.