Google purchased flight search company ITA Software for $700 million in April, but not without a few provisos from the Department of Justice. A federal judge yesterday approved the deal over objections from FairSearch.org, a group that includes Microsoft, Kayak, Hotwire, and Expedia. Google's concessions to the DOJ require the search giant to license the newly acquired software, continue ITA's current rate of R&D, and set up an arbitration system for fee disputes. Google also agreed that it would make no exclusive agreements with airlines, and set up a firewall to protect customer information. The DOJ will be able to access records and interview officers to verify compliance, but only until the agreement expires five years from now.

For you the user, this doesn't really change things much — it's a rubber stamp on a deal that El Goog has already built into a fully fledged service. You can now rely on Google Flight Search without the fear that it will be shut down by a man with a mallet.