Yahoo is introducing an upgraded travel service that blends the breadth of Yahoo search with handy travel-specific features, stepping up its challenge to dedicated travel sites.

Using Yahoo's central search site, consumers can receive instant airfare and hotel price comparisons, satellite overview maps and user reviews of restaurants and tourist destinations, features that previously existed in different corners of the Yahoo network or elsewhere across the Web.

Analysts say that by embedding travel features in its core search system as well as throughout the broader Yahoo network, and improving its travel destination site, the company could lure customers away from online travel agents where most online shoppers now look for travel deals.

"Industry-best prices will actually show up in Yahoo search results," said Jasper Malcolmson, director of Yahoo Travel. "We have created a search engine both for best prices and destinations."

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