Google (finally) makes a move For years now, ever since it acquired ITA software back in 2010, pundits have been speculating when Google would actually jump into travel distribution as a pure player. It released Flight Search and Hotel Finder in beta, then across various countries in North America in Europe, but always as a third-party traffic referrer rather than seeking direct transactions. After all, it is estimated that Priceline and Expedia both contributed to 5% of Google’s worldwide advertising revenues alone in 2014, so why would Google want to piss off two (or more) clients in the process of competing head on with them? Rate parity no more? Another seismic wave we are seeing comes from Europe, where online travel agency lost its battle against hotel unions and government agencies with regards to rate parity contract provisions. After legal decisions came through against Booking in Italy, France and Sweden, the popular OTA has announced it would review its contract provisions across Europe, with Expedia following suit shortly after, presumably to avoid costly litigation that would inevitably ensue. Get the full story at Frederic Gonzalo