Google Builds Out A National Real Estate Search Engine
While the National Association of REALTORS® is planning to launch its own national property database sometime next year, Google seems to have just stolen the NAR’s thunder. How? By rolling out individual “place pages” for every property that’s listed in Google Maps. Like this one for a home in Seattle:
The real estate listing place pages include property information, photos, map placement, Street View imagery and functionality, nearby public transit details, and even AdWords ads. Google has added links for “Directions” and “Search nearby,” as well as a “Send” link that opens an outgoing email with the place page link embedded inside. The property details in the example above are sourced from two separate Prudential Real Estate web sites, and from NWSource.com, which is the Seattle Times’ web site. It’s all presented just as you’d see on any standard MLS web site, though it lacks some of the deep information (such as square footage of individual rooms) available in a typical MLS listing.
There’s no announcement of this new feature yet on the Google LatLong blog, but it was announced today on the official Google Australia blog. That post says the real estate place pages may also include things like videos and inspection times. Left unsaid is that the place page format gives Google the space and flexibility to add new types of information in the future.
Google Maps has, of course, shown individual property information for some time. But it was relegated to the old, small, somewhat user-unfriendly info pop-up windows. The new place pages offer more information, are more user-friendly, and have short, clean links (like http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=18428966863334951733) that home buyers can easily pass around.
It’s the latest in a string of upgrades that Google has made to how it presents real estate information in Google Maps. For more, see Land Grab: Google Expands Real Estate Listings from July and Google Maps Makes Real Estate Search More Visible from last month. Add them all together, along with other updates that are sure to come, and it’s obvious Google is on its way to building what amounts to a national MLS-like database of property listings.