Google tweaks travel search site for tablets

Nearly half of tablet owners who perform travel searches end up buying their tickets on those devices, Google said

Google has updated its flight search engine to make it easier to use on tablets, as more and more people use those devices to book their travel, the company said in a blog post Friday.

Google now renders Flight Search for tablet users with a layout, features and format adapted to those devices, including a tool for finding low fares by scrolling through dates, Google said on Friday.

"With the touch of your finger, you can easily explore places to visit on the map and see prices updated in real-time for each destination," wrote Rani Manoharan, a Google user interface designer, in a blog post.

Google had previously adapted the site for iPhone and Android smartphones.

Google launched Flight Search in September last year, after acquiring air-travel flight-information software maker ITA Software for $700 million, a move prompted by the fast-growing number of travel-related queries on the company's search engine.

The deal raised antitrust concerns among Google competitors and in the travel industry because ITA Software customers included major airlines and online travel agencies. After a review, the U.S. government gave the deal the green light but with conditions, such as the requirement to develop and license travel software to competitors, as well as provide arbitration for complaints about fees from online travel sites.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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