Matrix, an online app produced by ITA Software, is a search tool designed to find specific days within a 30-day window when the most affordable airplane tickets for a specific destination are available. One caveat is that the site currently functions exclusively as a search tool – in order to purchase the tickets, users must write down the dates and then go to a site like Orbitz to make the purchase.
The problem solved by this tool is pretty painful for anybody that has tried in the past to purchase airplane tickets online. Finding the days within a given month when the most convenient flights are available is pretty difficult: most sites only offer a +/- 3 days search option, or they lack the ability to search across the entire spectrum of available tickets.
ITA Software has been developed traditionally as a software vendor providing connectivity services between airlines and ticket selling sites, therefore it has one of the most comprehensive sets of data on airplane tickets and their prices. Powerful algorithms are then able to quickly process this data in order to identify the lowest cost for a given journey in each day of a one-month interval.
Certain scientists from the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory founded the company in 1996. In January 2006, 10 years after being established, it managed to receive $100 millions in venture capital money. At the beginning of July 2010 the company announced an agreement of being acquired by Google for $700 millions, and almost one year later, on April 2011, the US Department of Justice approved the buyout. Recently the company opened its official blog.