Kayak.com and Sidestep.com to merge

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Travel search engineKayak has raised enough money to buy rival siteSidestep. Each site searches more than 300 travel websites, including airlines, hotels and sites like Expedia.com.

What does this mean if you use Sidestep as a tool to search the airfares, hotel rates, and car rental rates? It means that in early 2008 you will start to see Kayak.com features when you visit the Sidestep.com homepage, including its system for fare alerts.

What does this mean if you prefer Kayak.com? When you use Kayak's home page, you'll soon see one of Sidestep's best tools: a tool bar, which can allow you to search for fares directly on your Web browser, and airport guides, which details where amenities and parking lots can be found at major U.S. airports.

Kayak recently had about 3 million visitors running about 15 million searches a month. The company told the Wall Street Journal that fewer than one in ten people jump back and forth between sites, with most users just sticking to either Kayak or Sidestep. The merger will make Kayak the fifth-largest travel site out there. Sidestep was the pioneer of meta-search, and Kayak the snappy newcomer on its tail. The latest snappy newcomer, Farecast.com, now moves to the number two position.

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