Whenever someone compares Bing with Google, Bing Travel was one of the vertical in which Microsoft had a slight upper hand over Google. Bing Travel differentiates by offering predictions on when is the best time to purchase airline tickets. This flight price prediction technology was powered by Farecast, a technology that Microsoft acquired in 2008.
Unlike any other travel Web site, Farecast saved online travel shoppers money with an airfare prediction for their specific trip. The company’s patented airfare prediction tool shows whether the lowest fares for their trip are rising or dropping. Farecast also provides expected price movements, historical prices and buying tips when customers search for flights. Farecast is the only travel Web site that uses a database of over 175 billion airfares to help consumers know when to buy and when they have found a good deal when shopping for travel.
Microsoft has confirmed that they have ended this Farecast technology usage in Bing,
“Bing is no longer offering Price Predictor, but remains committed to delivering a comprehensive travel experience that gives people great travel information including flight and hotel search functionality. In addition to Bing.com/travel, travelers can find relevant travel information in new and visually compelling ways through the Bing Travel app and Bing Smart Search for Windows 8.1 and Bing Maps.
As to why price predictor was turned off — It was a business decision to focus resources on areas where we feel there are the greatest opportunities to serve travel needs.”
One of the main reasons Microsoft ended Farecast is that Google acquired ITA software which provided data for Farecast. Microsoft was not so happy with this Google’s acquisition and even opposed it publicly. Microsoft along with Fairsearch.org claimed that acquiring ITA Software would give Google control over the software that powers most of its closest rivals in travel search and could enable Google to manipulate and dominate the online air travel marketplace. The end result could be higher travel prices, fewer travel choices for consumers and businesses, and less innovation in online travel search. But eventually, Google ended up buying ITA and Microsoft ended its relation with it by killing Flight price prediction technology in Bing Travel.