Google: New Player in Real Estate and Threat?

Zillow.com and Trulia.com have been breakthrough sites that allowed consumers social media functionality in finding listings, property values, and information down to the neighborhood level. Real estate world meet your new neighbor: Google Maps. In a solid article outlining the new Google move Searchengineland.com’s ,“Land Grab: Google Expands Real Estate Listings” announces the “new kid on the block.” According to writer Matt McGee: “Google has expanded its real estate listings and added extra search functionality for users to find property listings in.”

New Search Feature

In the old version of Google Maps, the search function would return basic information such as listings of real estate agents and brokers on a map.  Such as a search for San Francisco real estate produced a basic map

Now if you are searching you will find right below the search box, a new “invitation” to search current real estate listings. The results for a search “san francisco real estate” returns:

Google Maps SF example003

And comprehensive maps like this:

Google Maps SF example

Google’s Source of Information: Scraping Listings?

According to McGee the search results are coming from sources such as “real estate brokerages and agents, many of whom upload listings into Google Base as part of their online marketing.. .”

McGee asserts that “Google is also getting listings from sources such as Homes & Land and The Real Estate Book and similar sites that advertise listings for participating real estate professionals.”

The dilemma now for Realtors and brokers is whether to list their properties in Google base or other sites that can be readily accessed and repurposed by Google for their own search engine listings within Google Maps. Finally, the National Association of Realtors has already accused Google of scraping it’s MLS listings thus stealing their competitive advantage. Where do Realtors go from here? What is your take on this new player in the real estate market? Only time will tell.