ITA Software who? Google Maps with hotel pricing coming to all US usersNewsBy Dennis Schaal | July 19, 2010Share This article was originally published on Google began rolling out Google Maps with hotel search and pricing to all U.S. users, a process that will be complete in the "next couple of weeks," a spokesperson says.If some travel companies are scared about the impact of Google's proposed acquisition of ITA Software, then check out Google Maps with hotel search and pricing.The content is so compelling and comprehensive that some consumers undoubtedly will feel there's little reason to search anywhere else.The beta, which began in March with a percentage of Google users in the U.S., is being expanded to all U.S. users and features the same limited limited number of advertisers -- including Expedia, hotels.com, Priceline, Booking.com and Travelocity, for example.The Google spokesperson termed the wider rollout an "experiment" and indicated it's too soon to tell whether international markets will get the product, as well."We're still collecting the data," the spokesperson says.Here's an example of what Google Maps with hotel search and pricing looks like:When I did a search on Google Maps for Baltimore, Md., hotels, Tremont Suite Hotels was displayed first in the search results in the left-hand column with a room rate of $163 per night through a sponsored link from Priceline, and a buck more through sponsored links from hotels.com and Expedia.com. The hotel website itself was also listed as an Owner Site, but was displayed in a lower position than the advertisers' listings and with no room rate shown.Clicking on the "more info" link next to Tremont Suite Hotels delivers a treasure trove of useful information about the property -- details about hotel pricing and amenities; user reviews about the rooms, service and location from Priceline; user reviews about the value of the hotel experience and dining from TripAdvisor; a map; Google Street View; hotel photos labeled "from the owner;" additional photos from TV trip, HotelGuide.com and Panoramio; Nearby Places You Might Like, and other features.Here's a look at just some of the content.And, oh yes, you can book rooms fairly easily on the partner websites -- and it looks like conversion rates should be attractive.When you click on the $163 room rate displayed next to Tremont Suite Hotels, you'll see that Priceline offers the rate at $144 plus $19 in "taxes and fees," a discount of $1 off the same $144 room rate and $20 in "taxes and fees" that Expedia and hotels.com offers for the same property.Click on the Priceline sponsored link and the user gets a deep link into Priceline.com. The landing page looks like this:Unlike the transition from some hotel-search referral sites to supplier or intermediary sites, in the above Google-to-Priceline handoff, you are immediately ready to select your room and enter your name and credit card details.No more searching required. Just book the room and ca-ching [cash register sound]. Search Engine Land reported July 15 that Google Maps with hotel search and pricing would be introduced to more U.S. users.But the Google spokesperson says the feature is being introduced to all U.S. users."We're making it more visible," the spokesperson says.Hoteliers and intermediaries offering hotel rooms will undoubtedly take a look.And oh, by the way, lest we not get too far removed from ITA Software-Google paranoia, flight specialist ITA Software has been investigating hotel search and pricing for a couple of years and now has staff dedicated to it.Google may come to consider that ITA Software hotel work very handy.