Many of those outside the often inward-looking bubble that is US online travel have always considered the more intriguing part of Googleentering travel to be the global play.
And now that Google has finally gone live with its first tentative steps to provide "exciting new flight search tools for all our users", the $700 million question remains: how will Google take travel search global?
The acquisition of ITA Software (approved in April this year) did not give Google the final piece in its jigsaw to launch a comprehensive travel search product – far from it, in fact, especially if it wants to create something which works for its international users or for users in North America wanting international flights.
ITA, through its famed QPX system, provides air search and shopping tools to predominantly US-based metasearch engines and many others, including Kayak, Orbitz, Bing Travel and TripAdvisor for its flight channel.
Sites such as Kayak, for example, use a mixture of QPX and the Metapricer engine from Amadeus (as well as direct feeds from airlines and and online travel agencies) to provide accurate search results to users.
In short: multiple suppliers of data, not just ITA.
Therefore, it could be reasonably safe to presume that Google will be forced to do the same – that QPX would be the primary, but one of a number of technology solutions, especially as ITA is at least considered by many a superb engine for North American coverage but perhaps less so for the rest of the world.
How does Google achieve its ambition of providing "exciting new flight search tools for all our users" – with an emphasis on the "all", by geography and route requirements?
This is still arguably the most interesting element of the entire framework through which Google wants to operate in the travel space.
The three options remain: scale up ITA; partner with a metasearch engine to provide the gaps in the coverage; or work with a GDS such as Travelport or Amadeus for similar reasons (it's still safe to presume Sabre wouldn't dream of such a thing given its opposition to Google's purchase of ITA).
The GDS route appears to have gone very cold in recent weeks, with sources suggesting that any discussions that did take place before the summer have either not progressed any further or have remained just as, well, talks.
Scaling up ITA is now looking like the favoured option.
But step forward Skyscanner, the UK-based metasearch engine with its apparent clever technology, bright founders and strong ties to the airlines, especially outside of the US.
Whether the tweet posted earlier today is a joke or not, a natural and snarky reaction by some when a potentially game-changing development takes place, it highlights once again that all is not as simple in the world of travel search.
Google is not going to rule the world with a simple throw of a dice - and maybe Skyscanner, or another metasearch engine, is the helping hand to bring it outside of the bubble.