Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed
Google is reportedly working on an airfare comparison site, according to Ryanair founder Michael O’Leary speaking to the Sunday Independent. O’Leary was much more candid about Google’s upcoming plans than the search giant itself is ever likely to be, describing Mountain View’s intent to build a price shopping engine for comparing airline ticket prices.
Existing sites that compare flight prices including Kayak, Expedia, Skyscanner and others are at a disadvantage compared to Google, in that it can act with complete independence from the airlines it lists. Many travel sites enter into marketing arrangements with their airline partners, which is understandable as that’s the obvious revenue model to exploit. Google, however, is seeking only access to the data of airlines, asking nothing in return in terms of payment, and instead selling its standard ads on the back of its ability to reach a massive audience.
O’Leary told the Independent that it would be sharing its ticket pricing “with all of the Google outlets,” making it possible to find routes and cheapest ticket prices, presumably on multiple platforms powered by Google software. It’s unclear exactly how this might work in practice, but presumably users Googling for airfare to a certain destination would see a comparison table of flight options in results, or this could be built in to something like Google Now, the personal assistant built in to all Android devices on later versions of that OS.
We’ve reached out to Google to find out more about these plans, and will update this story if they provide additional details.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
Nara, a Cambridge, Mass.-based recommendation service, today announced that it is expanding its service from restaurant recommendations to also include hotels in about 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.
Nara, which calls itself a “computational neuroscience company that analyzes and personalizes Web data,” always had the ambition to be much more than just a restaurant recommendation services, as its CEO Thomas Copeman told me when the company announced its $4 million Series A round last year. Its aim is to create a fully personalized web for its users and its current recommendation systems are essentially just a proof-of-concept for the company.
The company, which recently landed Singapore’s SingTel as its first telco customer, uses the Expedia Affiliate Network to power its online bookings engine and TripAdvisor ratings and review to give its users more information about hotels. At the core, however, Nara uses its neural networking-based recommendation engine to learn about its user’s tastes and create what the company calls a “Digital DNA” profile for each one of its users.
“From its inception, Nara.me was built to be a 21st century personal Internet portal,” said Thomas Copeman, chief executive officer and founder of Nara in a statement today. “Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to delivering more personalized and relevant content to our users across essential consumer lifestyle categories on the web. Our initial foray into restaurants and, now, hotels is just the beginning of Nara’s capabilities. We are excited to bring the next generation of search to the hospitality, travel, and leisure markets.”
Article courtesy of TechCrunch