However, conditions have been attached and an investigation is likely into whether Google disrupts its competition by manipulating search results.
The deal between the search giant and the software company is worth $700 million and is part of chief executive Larry Page’s plans to increase efforts in key businesses such as mobile technology and social networking.
Google has agreed to license ITA’s software as well as to develop it and guarantee that firewalls will be established to protect the intellectual property of clients.
Rival travel search firms – including Expedia, TripAdvisor and Kayak had lobbied hard in opposition to the $700m takeover. A coalition that also included consolidated airfare service Sabre Holdings and called itself Fairsearch.org seemed satisfied with the restrictions placed on Google, saying in a statement that the Justice Department’s settlement would ensure “that consumers will continue to benefit from vibrant competition and innovation in travel search”.
Senator Herb Kohl, chairman of the antitrust subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, said he would continue to probe Google to see if it was putting its own services and products ahead of its rivals.
Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission claiming that Google was harming its competition by walling off YouTube content so that other search engines would find it difficult to give accurate search results. The computer giant also claims that YouTube content is difficult for users of its mobile phones to access along with a number of other accusations.