Google debuted its long awaited flight search Tuesday.
The new search, powered by the data and algorithms it got when it bought ITA Software for $700 million in April, can be found directly at Google.com/flights.
Trying out Google’s take on flight search, one can see why traditional flight search engines feared the deal. Google has clearly integrated ITA’s smart algorithms that make sense of ever-changing airline inventory with its massive search infrastructure.
The site’s defining feature? Speed. Results from flight searches show up almost instantly—which comes as something of a miracle, given how accustomed we’ve all become to ten second-waits to find a cheap fare to Boise, Idaho.
Currently, booking a flight requires you to click over to an airline’s site, which isn’t always seamless since you may have to repick the exact flight when you hit the airline’s page. The flight search also gives you the option to limit a search to only one airline, but in the case of choosing Virgin America, Google seemed to have no data.
Despite those limitations, one can only assume that there have been better days inside companies such as Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, and Hipmunk.