Google tweaks real estate listings on Google Maps
When Google makes a move in the real estate space, everyone watches for clues that might signal the sleeping giant is hungry for a bigger piece of the real estate pie.
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The Internet search behemoth drives a ton of Web traffic to real estate sites everyday. Still, Google hasn't made a major play for domination in the online property search market, unlike sites such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com and Yahoo Real Estate.
So when Google makes a move in the real estate space, everyone watches for clues that might signal the sleeping giant is hungry for a bigger piece of the real estate pie. Such a move came about last week, when Google decided to spruce up its popular Google Maps page to highlight its real estate search tools and also began making searches for home listings available in Australia and New Zealand.
In the short term, the move will boost traffic to other real estate Web sites, figures Bill Tancer, general manager of research for Hitwise, an Internet tracking firm. But long-term, could be a different story.
"It's a competitive threat," Tancer suggests.
"We're certainly thinking about ways to improve the product," Filadelfo says, "but it's more about improving user experience, as opposed to how can we become the No. 1 real estate destination."
For years, Google invited real estate professionals and others to submit their listings of homes for sale to the site via the Google Base portal-for free. It began letting users of its maps tool look up homes for sale about a year ago.
Still, the company didn't trumpet its real estate functions on its sparse home page. You had to dig to get to Google's property search functions, which are primarily tied to its maps tool. Even there, the option to search for real estate listings was hard to find.