The move wasn’t entirely unexpected. Google’s tool was opened in 2011 after its $700 million acquisition of ITA Software Inc., an online airfare broker. In approving the deal, a federal judge required that Google keep an ITA flight search and pricing software, called QPX, accessible to third parties for at least five years. Google used ITA’s tool to create Google Flights, which aggregates airline prices directly inside its powerful search engine. The product competes with companies like Priceline Group Inc.’s and Chinese travel giant International Ltd.’s Skyscanner. Competitors who have been allowed to tap the Google flight search engine through the open software won’t be able to once Google cuts off service next year. The move is another step in Google’s years-long entry into the world of online travel search and booking. Since buying ITA, Google has slowly improved its travel-search products, and has started letting some users book flights without having to directly visit sites owned by Expedia Inc. and Priceline, the two dominant players in the industry. Still, those two companies are among Google’s most important customers, spending billions on online ads every year. Get the full story at Bloomberg