Google has announced that its travel search data feed will be shut down in April next year. The airfare search feed, QPX Express API, was unveiled after the online search giant acquired ITA seven years ago at a price of $700 million. According to the Mountain View, California-based tech giant, the closure is as a result of low demand.
“We decided to no longer support the QPX Express API given the low interest among our travel partners. Instead, we’ll focus on our other enterprise solutions for partners and users,” a spokesperson for Google said.
While the service will cease being offered next year on April 10, Google has also immediately halted signing on new users. Existing users will however get discounts on API calls that they make. Usage fee was $0.035 per query but that has been reduced to $0.02. The initial 50 queries to the data feed are offered at no cost. At the time of acquiring ITA, an approval was given by the U.S. Department of Justice on condition that Google would ensure that the public had access to the API for a period of at least five years.
QPX Enterprise, a version of QPX Express API targeted at bigger businesses, will however not cease operations. In Google’s travel data business majority of the revenues are generated by QPX Enterprise.
Another flight-related service that Google is shutting down is OnTheFly, a mobile app for conducting flight search that had originally been developed by ITA. The app will cease operations next month and users have been advices to instead use alternatives such as Google Flights or ITA’s legacy search site, matrix. Alternatives for users of QPX Express include Skypicker, Skyscanner and Fareportal, all of which offer API access.
Some of the well-known customers of QPX include Virgin Atlantic, US Airways, United Airlines, ANA, American, Alitalia, Orbitz, Kayak.com, CheapTickets, Cape Air and Bing Travel.
After acquiring ITA, Google also used the tool of its acquisition to develop Google Flights, a service which offers aggregate airline prices whenever users make a query on the online search engine. Google Flights’ rivals include firms such as Ctrip.com, a travel firm based in China, and Kayak.com, a service owned by Priceline Group.
The search products of Google have been improving since Google acquired ITA. Currently some users are able to book flights on the website without having to visit travel-booking sites owned by the likes of Priceline and Expedia.