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March 24, 2009 3:45 PM
Posted by Benjamin J. Romano
Microsoft is finding another use for the technology it acquired a year ago with the purchase of Seattle travel startup Farecast. The company has added a new capability to its Live Search engine, allowing users to input just a flight number into the Live Search box and get flight status information -- powered by Farecast and FlightStats -- in return.
I tested it out just now with a Virgin America flight. Seems to work pretty well.
The same search in Google brought back similar information, also provided by www.flightstats.com:
In a blog post earlier today, Live Search senior program manager MJ Lee describes the feature as part of Active Answers, "brought to you by Microsoft Research and Live Search."
"We are simplifying key tasks with Active Answers, a new method of retrieving up-to-the-minute data from the Web," Lee wrote. "To help with your air travel information needs, our first Active Answer release is for flight status."
Lee said more Active Answers are coming.