NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Google has introduced a new search tool that makes finding the best airfare deal significantly easier.
Lowest prices by time of year
If you have your destination ready and your travel dates are flexible, your chances of snagging the lowest price goes up. That’s because Google Flights will present a calendar of the dates with the cheapest prices for your travel.
The prices that Google shows will appear in gray and green (green for lowest).
When you click on the day you want to travel, Google will list the flights for that date in order of cost, grouping together all the times when you can fly at the lowest price.
Chart tools created to monitor yearly trends
If you’re curious about what time of the year flights between two cities are the lowest, Google Flights can show you a bar chart that will give you a glimpse of the best prices throughout the year.
Google Maps — with flight prices
Maybe you know when you want to fly, but you’re not sure where to go? Google Flights has an interactive map that will show you prices for destinations around the world.
“I’m feeling lucky”
You can also search for generic terms, such as “flights to Europe” or “flights to Mexico.” Google Flights also has an “I’m feeling lucky” button that will suggest popular destinations and other locations based on your search history.
Don’t know where to go?
Google said it found that 54% of people don’t know where they want to travel when they decide to plan their vacations.
What Google doesn’t show is whether prices will drop in the near future. Microsoft Bing and Kayak provide services that predict when prices are expected to rise or fall.
But Google said those tools aren’t typically very helpful.
Don’t know when to go?
“Though it’s sometimes hard to pull the trigger because you’re afraid the price will drop tomorrow (or next Tuesday, maybe?), our experience shows it’s usually best to book right away,” said Eric Zimmerman, Google Flights product manager, in a blog post.
A nifty trick is to save your flight booking on Google Flights and use the Google Now app to receive updates if the price drops substantially. Although there are not guarantees when it comes to the price of airfare, if you’re unsure that’s a great way to be able to jump on the discount, if it happens.
In 2011, Google purchased a company called ITA, which provides flight information to websites, such as Expedia, Kayak, Hipmunk and Priceline. The data Google controls includes flight times, availability and prices.
Competitors Kayak and Expedia initially opposed the deal before the Department of Justice forced Google to promise that it would continue to promote competition.
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