Google buys air travel software maker

Purchase of ITA will enhance Google searches for flight info

Google has reached an agreement to buy ITA Software, a maker of air travel flight-information software whose customers include major airlines and online travel agencies.

Google will pay US$700 million in cash for the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based software vendor, the companies announced on Thursday.

Google plans to use ITA's software to improve the ways in which people can find flight information online using Google search services, Google said in a statement.

ITA, founded in 1996, counts among its customers American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Kayak, Orbitz, Southwest Airlines, TripAdvisor, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Microsoft's Bing.

Google said it will "honor all existing agreements" ITA has in place and plans to add new partners.

The companies are holding a press conference this afternoon to discuss the deal.

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