Loss of Google Base Hits Websites


With Google's Base API set to be decommissioned on June 1 this year, property websites that made use of the API have been forced to readjust their plans.

One such portal is thebigpropertylist.co.uk, which launched in August 2010 as a portal-style website displaying the UK listings available through Google Base. Now, thebigpropertylist.co.uk managing director James Cole tells propertyportalwatch.com that he is working on a new source of listings for his website.

"Before the Google Base API is retired on 1 June 2011, thebigpropertylist.co.uk will begin to use a new source of property listing data that will provide a comparable range of property for sale and to rent and continue to provide a great user experience for UK home hunters," Cole explains. "On top of this we have some exciting new developments planned for 2011 which we hope will add to the range and quality of services offered by us to house buyers and sellers."

While the Google Base API is scheduled for retirement, Cole maintains that this will not be Google's last foray into real estate.

"It’s hard to imagine where Google Maps will be in two (let alone 10) years’ time, but one thing you know for sure: the number of 'layers' of data will include almost everything it is possible to know about a place, including whether or not a house is for sale," Cole says.

thebigpropertylist.co.uk was not the only real estate website relying on Google Base for its listings. baseestate.com, which was featured by Google and had been planning to release a paid platform for sellers to list their own properties during 2010, is now "on hiatus."

The website, which previously allowed users to search Australian listings as well as those in the US, UK, and New Zealand, now invites visitors to "check back in 2011 for relaunch." Creator Craig van Nieuwkerk tells propertyportalwatch.com that the loss of Google Base was not the only reason the site was shut down.

"Firstly, as a horizontal real estate portal it is very difficult to get mind share and repeat visits when competing against major players such as realestate.com.au or zillow.com or trulia.com," van Nieuwkerk explains. "Any relaunch would be in some kind of niche capacity although we are unsure which direction this will go."

"Secondly, the shut down of the Google Base API meant we would need to get a different source of listings, be it scraping, partnerships or using a different API like oodle.com," van Nieuwkerk adds. "Considering the first issue of mind share we decided not to make the investment at this time until we have evaluated future plans."

Van Nieuwkerk says the company behind baseestate.com, BaseWebTek, is now working on other projects.


  1. We stood in the shadows awaiting to see what Google would do. I know for 2 years Google was at many of the real estate Expo’s as you could see them, or reference to via their sponsorship, getting on stage and talking etc. Their user end was pretty poor, but hey, if so, then others don’t see them as a threat. My thoughts are that they learnt a lot and they withdrew by saying not viable at this time. I feel they will be back, having learnt much and the next model will be a very different delivery.

    As the property market returns there will be opportunities to revenue. Google makes money, so if the moneys out there later. ………………. They’ll be back

  2. You make a good point Trevor.

    However, Google needs to balance any decision to enter the real estate market against its revenues from existing real estate operators.

    Why would they want to sh-t in their own nest?

  3. Google will be thwarted if it attempts to move into that marketplace again (in North America anyway) Hopefully a portal provider in AU will look to form a partnership with REALTORS to resolve the situation found there.

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