What is it with Seattle-area startups and their desires to predict the future?

Zillow.com wants to help you figure out the future market value of homes, while Inrix is looking to help motorists forecast the best way around congested roads.

Now, a third Seattle Internet startup is unveiling its system for predicting the ever-fluctuating prices of airline tickets.

Farecast, founded three years ago by University of Washington computer scientist Oren Etzioni, tells travelers whether airfares are expected to rise or fall in a given period of time. It then offers tips on whether travelers should buy the ticket now or hold off for a few weeks. Links to fares from major U.S. airlines are provided below the predictions.

About 700 people who fly regularly from Seattle and Boston have been testing the site since late February, with a public rollout scheduled for next month. At that time, Farecast will allow consumers to research price volatility for flights from Seattle and Boston to about 60 major airports. The company plans to have about 65 outbound markets represented by the end of this year. It also is working on technologies to analyze one-way and multicity tickets. For now, Farecast doesn't look at international routes.

Get the full story at Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Get John Battelle's take on Farecast

TechCrunch has screenshots of Farecast