Since giving us an early look in September, Google has continued working on their Flight Search service. Their most recent development displays the Flight Search table on the results page when triggered by flight-related queries, as opposed to requiring a click on Flights in the left-hand navigation bar.
As we described the feature when the first look was revealed, the big benefit to users is that results come back instantly... goodbye, endless page loading! Google searches multiple major airlines and displays the results in a table located just below the paid search ads, above organic results.
The new look can be attributed to the technology gained via Google's acquisition of airline data software company ITA, finalized in April this year after a Department of Justice investigation. Google’s earlier iteration of flight data in search results was decidedly clunky and text-heavy; this latest version is much cleaner, organized, and malleable.
Users can change the end and return dates on the SERP Flights table, or click on the flight information to go to the detailed list at Google.com/flights. Three bars appear at the top of the listing, each with a dropdown option.
The top bar controls destinations and opens to display a Google map. The selected route appears, with other destinations showing flight prices, as well. Some are listed, while others pop up on hovering over the dots.
The second bar opens to allow users to change the departure and return dates and change between one-way and return. Users can change the dates using the directional arrows at the top of the bar, or with the sliding highlight bar on the calendar. Hovering over specific days on the calendar shows their place in the bar graph on the right, which indicates the lowest available fare in and around the date range.
The third dropdown box displays a graph with two sliders, to filter results by max flight duration and price. Text listings appear below, categorized by airline.
Have you had a chance to try out Google Flights? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Upcoming Webinar: PPC Pause and Reflections for 2013
Thursday, December 12 - 2013 was a major turning point in search advertising. With Google's Enhanced Campaigns and Bing's innovative Smart Search capabilities in Windows 8.1, now is a great time to pause, reflect, and plan for the new year. Webinar attendance is free. Sign up today!