Twitter is ablaze with talk of Google's latest foray into the travel sphere, GoogleFlights.
Peer pressure. I had to give it a try. Some thoughts:
Speed: This appears to be the cheetah of air flight engines, with near simultaneous search results. Enter your date and proposed destinations and then don't blink: in front of you will be a long list of options, ordered by time of departure (other filters can be applied to shape the search results). That being said, the cheapest flights, during my first search, didn't come up until a few minutes into my search. I'd input an early October itinerary between New York and Dallas, and the cheapest options (Continental for $206 round-trip) weren't readily viewable. This might have been a fluke or a bug they'll be fixing.
Another nice touch: one can change the date and the system adjusts in seconds, rather than having to reboot.
Flexibility: From the current template, it doesn't look like Google will be able to handle requests for multi-stop itineraries as Kayak.com and Momondo.com now do. Also, according to the New York Times its only searching the engines of the airlines, and not of airfare discounters which might be a drawback for real bargain hunters.
Hipmunk, which uses different colors for the various airlines, and creates a chart which shows, in the first results, the length of layovers.
Special features: Do travelers care which airport they transfer through? Its not high on my list of priorities, but those who give a damn will like Google's filter, the only one that I know of that allows travelers to only see flights that transfer through their preferred hubs. Another filter allows fliers to see flights by length of layover, a truly handy innovation (particularly for thos travelers who have to fly from delay-ridden airports).
Deal finding ability: Hard to tell at this point, as the engine is only covering a few, key American gateways. I ran a few searches and it matched--though didn't undercut--prices I found on Hipmunk and Momondo.
I guess this one's a wait-and-see. But congratulations to the industrious folks at Google on the launch.