will no longer be able to find for-sale, foreclosure, or rental
properties through the search function on Google Maps, and real estate
professionals will no longer be able to upload their listings to Google
Base, the company’s classifieds site, which is being replaced by Google
Shopping APIs and will not support real estate listings.
due to low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search
tools on real estate websites, and the infrastructure challenge posed
by the impending retirement of the Google Base API,
we’ve decided to discontinue the real estate feature within Google
Maps on February 10, 2011,” the company said in a blog post.
seekers can still use “Google search results to find helpful real
estate information and websites” as well as view local businesses,
directions and transit times through Google Maps and explore
neighborhoods through Google Street View, the company added.
does not come as a surprise to me. Even with Google’s huge audience,
it shows having listing data is clearly not enough to deliver a good
real estate search experience and build audience,” said Pete Flint, CEO
and co-founder of property search site Trulia.
The company added
that Google’s removal of listings data will not affect its mobile
application, which uses the Google Maps API.
are no more in the real estate business than we are in the cafe or
the museum business,”said Carter Maslan, Google’s director of product
management, at the July 2010 Real Estate Connect conference in San
Francisco. “We view as key … to get (the information) right, but
what we really want to do is show it in context.”
In a blog post
about the decision, Joel Burslem of real estate marketing and
communications firm 1000 Watt Consulting, commented: “Maintaining a
national property database, and, perhaps more importantly, its
concurrent accuracy, is a huge challenge that it looks like even
Google realized is too big a pill to swallow.”
Inman News columnist Gahlord Dewald said Google’s announcement opens up more questions than it answers.
real estate, I don’t have data that supports the idea of humans
clicking on maps as a search interface ever was real — the technology
vendors of map-based search still don’t have adequate analytics baked
in to give us that data. Google, I’m sure, has that data,” Dewald
“That they couldn’t sustain an interest in the project
could mean a lot of things: Maybe Google lacks the imagination to
develop a business around the service, maybe people don’t want to use a
map as a search interface for real estate, maybe there’s no business
there at all.”
Google launched Google Base in November 2005.
The Houston Association of Realtors was one of the first industry
associations to push members’ listings to the service, in December 2006.
November 2009, Google added “place pages” to the service, making
available on a single page all the information Google has about a
property listing — including property details, photos, inspection
times, videos, a street-view preview and nearby public transit
“This is an interesting move by Google. We saw big
changes in leadership last week with Eric (Schmidt), Larry (Page) and
Sergey (Brin) shifting their focuses and positions,” said Inman News
columnist Tom Flanagan.
“I suspect more changes are coming. I’d
really be surprised if Google completely retired real estate — it’s
just too big for them to ignore!”