Will Google’s flight travel search service bring down travel portals in India?

Will Google's flight travel search service bring down travel portals in IndiaAccording to news reports, A fledgling effort by Google portending the launch of its flight travel search service in India is creating jitters among online flight aggregators, who fear their business model is under threat.

Google, whose services include Gmail and YouTube, is “very close” to introducing Flight Search in India, according to people with direct knowledge of the plan. Flight Search – first launched in the US and then in parts of Europe – lets users compare fares offered by airlines and book tickets directly from airline websites. This could, in effect, make flight aggregators such as Makemytrip, Yatra and Cleartrip redundant, industry observers said. Another website, kayak.co.in lets users compare flight options from hundreds of travel sites at once.

In response, the aggregators are considering steps to protect their interests, including a possible complaint to the Competition Commission. They claim discrimination by Google when it comes to search results for queries relating to online travel.

Separately, Google is the subject of investigations by the Competition Commission based on complaints that it is abusing its dominance in the country’s search-engine market. In February last year, matrimonial site Bharatmatrimony.com had filed a complaint against it.

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