Google Will Launch its Own Home Finder Service

January 13th, 2007 at 12:00 am
 


Reports once again are coming out that Google will soon launch its own home finder service integrated into its main search engine using a mashup of Google Base, Googe Earth and Google Maps. As the reports go, this mashup is intended to compete directly against standalone real estate sites like zillow.com, housevalues.com and realestateabc.com.

Moreover, with this feature Google is moving more and more towards integrating various vertical listings into its main search results. But this information is not really new. Pictures and news circulated on the Internet between late March and early April of 2006 indicating that Google was testing a real estate vertical listing option in its main search engine. It generated some talks and discussions inside some forums and blogs. It was a big thing after all. The new Google feature appears to be more dynamic now compared to what surfaced last year.

Generally, when ordinary consumers search the Internet for houses or properties what do they usually do? Surely, they don’t go directly to specific real estate websites like Zillow (unless they are already familiar with the site). But normally, what they do is type an entry on a Google search box, press enter and then click on the top results.

But once Google adds a vertical real estate listing on its main search results, consumers will be able to perform faster searches that would yield more accurate results. Buyers, sellers, realtors, apartment locators, mortgage specialists and other real estate players would rely less on other sites to get the information they need.

If they can already find it at Google, then why look anywhere else. Also, Google real But there were some criticisms. Up until now, there were no indications that Google has integrated a valuation tool in its real estate search. The lack of the tool limits the capabilities of Google to fully provide the needs of the real estate market.

Top real estate sites like zillow.com and housevalues.com provide consumers with different types of free information including free home valuations, transaction history, detailed property information, neighborhood and school information, and for sale postings.

They also provide high-resolution aerial imagery maps as well as detailed home listings which Google also have. On the other hand, Zillow provides rough estimates of the valuation of homes by searching comparable properties. Although Zillow started with far off estimates, at present the site is slowly becoming more accurate and reliable. Also, critics had concerns that Google’s real estate database was not big enough to compete with other fully dedicated websites.

But after more than six months, I’m sure that Google’s real estate database have grown considerably. Definitely, Google’s entry as a property finder is something that real estate websites should be wary about. Google might not be there yet but they have the resources to make things happen. And if they do decide to get serious about it, zillow.com, housevalues.com and other similar sites will find themselves at the loosing end if they fail to adapt and innovate.