Google will now tell you the cheapest time to buy flights
Choosing the right time to book a flight is confusing. It's not necessarily the case that tickets are cheaper the earlier you book, since flights can be at their cheapest just a few weeks before departure, depending on the time you fly and your destination. But with no hard and fast rule, it's difficult to tell.
But a new feature from Google's flight-searching tool has taken the hassle out of picking the best time to book flights. The search engine will now tell you when the price of a flight is expected to rise, or allow you to track flights by email to see how they fluctuate.
The service is a new feature of Google Flights, the search engine's own price comparison tool that rivals Skyscanner and Kayak. When selecting a particular route, the search results may display a notification saying when prices may rise, based on historical flight data. Tapping the notification will give you details about how likely the price rise is and by how much it will be.
Selecting a particular flight, and the data is likely to be more accurate, telling you in how many hours the fare is likely to increase. For example, above the button to proceed there may be a notification saying "£71 fare increase likely in eight hours".
The service is most useful for monitoring price rises when buying tickets in the weeks running up to flights. But if you're looking at tickets several months in advance you can also set up email notifications that will alert you when prices are expected to increase, or when they actually increase or decrease.
The feature puts Google in competition with Hopper, a mobile app that shows users the best time to purchase a ticket. The company says the feature will become available in the coming weeks