The hottest post-July 4th topic to hit the internet is Google Australia’s recent real estate search enhancements to their Google AU Maps application. The invitation to search for real estate on Google Maps is also available in most cities and towns in the U.S. by visiting Google Maps
Although the enhancements are basic improvements to the search experience, the underlying message has been heard loud and clear around the world: Google’s getting into the online real estate search business.
I decided to do a little test search using Google Maps to search for Austin real estate. In the upper left corner there was an invitation to search for real estate using the Google Maps tool which I proceeded to open and investigate. The experience was pretty seamless and all of my search changes were reflected in real-time. Not bad for a first attempt…
Google’s entry into online real estate has been shocking to some but others may have seen it coming. No other technology company has the real estate specific tools that flow together so nicely like Google Base and the new Google Maps real estate tool with a real-time, adjustable search and StreetView tied to the individual listings. You can even view photos, videos and related web pages to a listing from within the Maps application.
Since the real estate search addition to Google Maps is so new I haven’t seen much by way of what impact, if any, this will have on consumers looking for homes online. Will home buyers continue using the general Google search to research real estate in local areas or will they start going to Google Maps directly just as they do for directions and to look up business reviews? Further, will Google’s entry into online real estate search serve as the demise of third party real estate search solutions like Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com?