Google buys travel software firm for $700 million

The move likely signals Google's entry into the fiercely competitive online travel market, where third-party websites like Orbitz and Expedia compete with travel agents and airlines to offer consumers the best deals on flights and travel packages. According to a company blog post, the search giant plans to create new tools to make it easier to compare flights and prices and find a place to purchase a ticket.

"We’re confident that by combining ITA’s expertise as the leading developer of flight information software with Google’s technology we’ll be able to create great user innovations in flight search," writes Marissa Mayer, vice president for search products and user experience.

"It is a privilege to work with a most skilled and dedicated team to build innovative technologies that people use every day," said Jeremy Wertheimer, CEO and president of ITA Software. "We are all looking forward to continuing and expanding our efforts as part of Google."