As long-time readers of the blog know, I am a fan of ITA software, the company with the fare-finding technology and search engine that powers Orbitz and several other airline web sites. Indeed, for my recent trip to Bertinoro ITA saved my grants several hundred dollars -- they found a pair of flights involving two separate, currently non-partnered airlines at a price that couldn't be duplicated on several other sites I tried. (The flights should, I hope, even meet NSF's unwieldy international flight rules.)
For at least six weeks, there has been buzz that Google was looking at buying ITA, for the tune of roughly 1 billion dollars. But not much has been heard of late, with possible reasons being described in this recent post at tnooz. Indeed, I ran into an ITA person I know "on the street" a while back and asked when I could officially congratulate them, and was politely brushed off.
It's not clear to me if Google/ITA would be a match made in heaven or not, but I admit I'm eagerly awaiting to hear the news (one way or another). I would place ITA in the category of companies that show that cool things that can come out of smart algorithms and data structures (see this old writeup), so I wish them success. I think reaching the billion dollar selling point would certainly be one reasonable measure of success.
Don't be surprised to see more of this story in the news in the future.