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Originally published May 29, 2009 at 4:26 PM | Page modified May 29, 2009 at 8:05 PM

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Farecast to become part of Microsoft's Bing Travel

Farecast becomes part of Microsoft's Bing.com starting Wednesday.

Seattle Times travel writer

Farecast, the Seattle-based travel price prediction service, becomes part of Microsoft's Bing Travel Wednesday when the company launches its new Bing.com search engine incorporating content previously found on Farecast.live.com and MSN travel.

Microsoft designed Bing as a general search engine to compete with Google and Yahoo, but for some types of queries, including travel, it's positioning Bing as a destination site for booking flights, hotels, etc., and publishing travel content including blogs and traveler forums.

Farecast predictions on how likely airline prices are to rise or fall are incorporated into searches for the lowest fares.

A test on a beta version (not yet public) of the new site today showed that by going to Bing.com, and clicking on "Travel" on the left side of the screen, Bing brings up an airfare search window similar to what's displayed at Kayak.com or one of the other sites that scan airline and online booking sites for the lowest fares.

A search for round-trip fares between Seattle and Denver departing on June 19 brought up fares starting at $253 on Frontier Airlines along with a Farecast price predictor indicating whether fares were expected to rise or fall. The recommendation for the Denver flight was to wait, with Farecast predicting that the fare is likely to fall by $50 or more within the next seven days.

For general searches on Bing, the goal is help travelers get to the information they need faster, said Mike Fridgen, a former Farecast executive.

A search for "United Airlines" or another major air carrier, for example, brings up the airline's customer service number, along with direct links to reservations, flight status information and online check-in.

Farecast, founded in Seattle, became a public company in June of 2006, and was acquired by Microsoft for $115 million in April of 2008.

Carol Pucci: 206-464-3701

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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