Today Google added property listings to its already extensive range of features for Google Maps in Australia.
While Google Maps are commonly used as an extra or a way to display listings on agent or portal websites, this move gives the agent or portal listings directly to Google, to display them on their maps.
Agents, groups and property portals are able to upload their listings directly to Google Maps at no cost, which the company argues will make them them “more easily discoverable by the millions of Google Maps users in Australia”.
Newspaper WA Today writes that the technology behind this enhancement was developed by engineers at Google’s Sydney office and is also being rolled out on the company’s existing property search service in the United States.
In a blog post announcing real estate search functionality for Google Maps, Google writes:
“Increasingly, people are heading online when looking for a new house to rent or buy, and from today, we’re adding the ability to search for properties on Google Maps. We’ve worked with partners across the real estate industry to provide up-to-date listings, which you can search for directly from the Google Maps search box.”
“A marker will appear on the map for every available listing, using our new search results feature, so you can get a really good idea of the distribution of the properties for sale or rent. This also means you can perform a search and see all the properties for sale close to, for example, a local school you’re interested in your kids attending. You can click on each marker and each small circle to get more detailed information about the property, including the listing agent’s website and contact details.”
Searches update automatically and are refinable by the usual criteria. Users can also access all the typical Google Maps features like Google Street View, driving directions, as well as seeing where other businesses are, while they search for a home.
Watch a video below which explains the new feature:
The launch will be viewed with suspicion by many in the real estate industry who are concerned about the threat Google poses to existing business models, particularly for property portals.
According to WA Today the service is launching with listings provided by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia and homehound.com.au. Reports are that market leader realestate.com.au and number two ranked domain.com.au are not yet taking part.
In the latest propertyportalwatch.com poll we asked is Google a real threat to property portals? So far the poll reveals that the majority believe Google is a threat – 27 percent said yes, they can replace property portals and 26 percent said yes, they will strongly compete with property portals. 18 percent thought they were a partner for property portals and 13 percent no, they are just a search engine. And 18 percent said they were not sure but they need to be watched closely.