Expedia offers online booking services for flights, car rentals and hotels under brands such as Hotels.com and Hotwire.com, and plans to beef up its business with Thursday's US$1.6 billion proposed acquisition of rival Orbitz, which offers similar services and operates sites such as CheapTickets.com. Snatching up Orbitz will give Expedia the customers it needs to fend off companies that have muscled their way into the online travel agency space, including Google, said Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi during a webcast held to discuss the Orbitz deal. Google, along with traditional travel industry players like hotels, are all trying to establish themselves as the best option for consumers looking to book travel. In 2010, Google agreed to buy ITA Software, a maker of airfare search and pricing software, for about $700 million, a deal that instantly made rivals and anti-trust watchdogs cry foul. The U.S. government challenged the acquisition, and ultimately Google and the Department of Justice signed a consent decree in October 2011, clearing the way for the deal. That agreement, which imposes a number of requirements on Google to protect competition in the market, expires in October of next year. Google, which declined to comment, competes against Expedia with its Flights search engine. Get the full story at PC World and Fast Company Read also "Expedia buys Orbitz for $1.6B in cash to square up to priceline" and "Why Expedia is adding more digital storefronts to its travel-booking empire" at Fast Company