As you probably know by now, real estate is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart — quite literally. My wife is a real estate agent. My sister is a real estate agent. My dad opened his own agency in the 1950s and still works from a home office today as he approaches a tender 80 years old. It’s not just personal, though; real estate is all about small business and I try to watch what’s happening in the industry as much as possible.
Lately, I’ve been watching Google take one baby step after another, pushing into real estate as quietly as Google can do anything. Last night, I wrote about Google’s latest step on Search Engine Land: Google Builds out a National Real Estate Search Engine. The creation of individual “place pages” for property listings is Google’s latest step toward building out what I believe will be a challenger to any web site, big or small, that offers property listings. The article has apparently earned a lot of buzz today around real estate circles, and I want to point out two posts that caught my eye:
1.) 1000Watt Consulting: Google makes yet another big move into real estate territory
Author Brian Boero says, rightly so if you ask me, “Sure, Trulia, Zillow and a hundred other online real estate sites do this. But this is Google, folks – a force so large that it can upend entire categories overnight.”
2.) Bloodhound Blog: “Google Places” is a “National Real Estate Search Engine”? Not so much.
Despite the apparently contrary headline, I think author John Rowles and I are in agreement on what’s going on here. He makes the smart suggestion that Google could turn the Local Business Center into a Local Property Listings Center and allow the property owner and/or real estate professional to manage the listing the same way local businesses can manage their business information. Says John:
“Given that option, it’s easy to see how people, who are as distrustful of real estate agents as they have ever been in the wake of housing bubble, might migrate to a real estate information platform that is outside the industry’s control and has the added benefit of the familiar Google user experience.
When Google puts something like this out there, THEN its time to freak out if you are NAR, a local MLS, Move Inc, an IDX vendor, etc..
Until then, enjoy the borrowed time.”
Borrowed time. I think that’s a great way to put it right now.