Google Plans To Buy Its Way Into Real Estate

Google is making its intentions in the real estate vertical more clear. Speaking this week at Inman Real Estate Connect, an industry conference, Google’s Sam Sebastian reportedly said: “We’re actively looking to acquire one to two small real estate companies a month.”

(Update: We now understand that the Realtor.org blog post linked above may have misquoted Google’s Sam Sebastian. Via this tweet, this attendee blog post, and a comment below, it appears Sebastian may have been referring to acquisitions in general, not specific real estate acquisitions. We’ll contact Google for clarification.)

Google has recently been rumored to be buying Trulia, but Sebastian wouldn’t confirm or deny those rumors. On his blog, Greg Sterling speculates about some of the larger real estate sites that Google may be targeting, but there are plenty of smaller options to choose from, too. Any site that gives Google a more complete data set for its continually expanding real estate listings would be a target. (Pure speculation: A site like Homethinking.com, which offers transaction histories and reviews of real estate agents, might give Google good content for its real estate place pages, not to mention more signals to use for search result rankings.)

When Google created place pages for property listings in November, I called it a national real estate search engine of sorts. There was pushback to that claim in some real estate circles from people saying Google hadn’t yet shown that level of commitment to getting into real estate. But Google’s statements this week in New York seem to make the company’s intentions clear: It plans to buy its way into the space with an aggressive acquisition schedule.

Brief Timeline Of Google’s Real Estate Efforts

Postscript from Greg Sterling: I had a brief email exchange with Sam Sebastian over the weekend in which he indicated he was misquoted and did not say that Google would be specifically buying “one to two real estate companies per month.” His remark was apparently more general, about Google’s broader intention to acquire small companies. That same statement has previously been made by several high level Google executives, including CEO Eric Schmidt.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Features: Analysis | Google: Acquisitions | Google: Maps & Local | Search Engines: Real Estate | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • lcotter

    I was at the conference and I believe Sam said “We’re actively looking to acquire one to two small companies a month”. Note that “real estate” isn’t included in the quote…

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