Google is taking on Skyscanner, Scotland's hottest startup

The new service tells you when you should book in order to get the cheapest fare.
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The new service tells you when you should book in order to get the cheapest fare.

Travel booking site Skyscanner, arguably Scotland's biggest and best-known tech startup, just got some fairly major competition from Silicon Valley.

Google is updating its little-known Google Flights service over the next few weeks so that it tells you when you should book in order to get the cheapest fare, The Telegraph reports.

After the update has been rolled out, a notification will be displayed on Google Flights results letting customers know how likely it is that the flight prices will change in the coming days.

People that want to keep an eye on flight prices over a longer time period can set up email alerts that will inform them ...

People that want to keep an eye on flight prices over a longer time period can set up email alerts that will inform them when prices are expected to change.

More information on how much flights are likely to rise can be obtained by tapping the notification.

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The update will come in particularly useful for anyone that's booking flights in the coming weeks, according to The Telegraph. However, those that want to keep an eye on flight prices over a longer time period can set up email alerts that will inform them when prices are expected to change.

Google is basing its pricing on data from previous years so it won't be 100% accurate but it will still give you a rough idea of what to expect.

The move is a deliberate attempt by Google to take on smaller businesses like Kayak and Scotland's Skyscanner, which raised £128 million in January to fuel its expansion around the world and help it to take on larger rivals.

The financing made Skyscanner one of only two Scottish "unicorns," which is the term given to a tech company when its valuation passes the $1 billion mark. The other Scottish unicorn is FanDuel — a fantasy sports platform that allows you to create fantasy teams and enter them into leagues where you can win cash prizes.

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At the time of the financing, Skyscanner CEO and cofounder Gareth Williams, said: "Skyscanner has enjoyed high double-digit growth rates for some years now, and has been profitable since 2009.

"This success is thanks to our 1200 direct partner relationships, the trust of the 50 million travellers who use us every month, our technology and the dedication of our teams to deliver the best experience for travellers possible. This financing round and our recent new hires allow us to build fantastic further tools for travellers."

When Business Insider asked Skyscanner if it offers anything similar, a spokeswoman for the company said: "We do, in two ways. We have a Price Alert feature, which alerts to price drops and increases on a particular chosen route. We also do an annual Best Time to Book campaign — there's a real trend to when flights are cheapest. Details here."

Business Insider

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