In an apparent move to take on major travel services providers like Expedia and Orbitz, Google has announced that it will be cutting off developer access to a feed that automates data for airfare search engines. The move could potentially put third-party travel sites in a spot. “The QPX Express API service will end on April 10, 2018,” Google said in a notice on the FAQ page of its site for software developers. The search giant also added that it would be ending new user registrations for the flight service. QPX Express is a simplified airfare search API that offers basic shopping capabilities. It allows easy access to air travel search via a single, standardised API.
“If you are actively using the QPX Express API service, you may want to find an alternate solution before April 11, 2018,” the Google notice said. Google is not providing any information on alternative API services, but some possibilities that software engineers could use include Fareportal, Skyscanner, and Skypicker, The Verge reported on Wednesday. Google is also building out its own consumer-facing Flights service, adding cost-saving features, such as flying on a different day, landing in a different airport, or checking to see how airfares vary over time on a graph, the report added.
How Google’s decision to shut down its API service will specifically affect third-party travel sites is not fully clear. According to technology news website TechCrunch, customers of QPX include a lot of household names like Bing Travel, Cape Air, CheapTickets, Kayak.com, Orbitz, Alitalia, American, ANA, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. Google’s move to cut off third-party access could require these services to build their own databases by going directly to the airlines.