Internet search engine Google is considering a move into the travel bookings business with a feature that links users to travel agencies offering the cheapest fares.
Google said it is testing the feature, which could put it in competition with travel search sites such as SideStep and Kayak.com, which already sift through all published booking information for fares and reservation prices.
Analysts at specialist travel research companies say Google’s offering “is really showing what kind of influence it has on travel”.
On Google, users can input specific flight enquiries between two points. The search results feature web links to the sites that have fare information, such as Expedia.com, which offers online booking and information.
Google has not said when or if the feature would be expanded or made permanent. Search rival Yahoo! has also said it plans to offer tools to turn Yahoo! Travel into an online travel guide.