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Google Improves Real Estate Search Capabilities

Last week, Google announced a set of home search improvements that are being integrated into their Google Maps service. While Google has offered home search capabilities in Google Maps for some time now, it hasn’t exactly been easy to find. Here is a short list of features:

  • Typing in a query like “Homes for Sale in San Francisco” into Google Maps will plot available properties on the map. (I found this a little problematic for some cities. Going directly to http://maps.google.com/realestate seemed to offer the best results)
  • Best match results will be displayed with their “alphabet markers” with other nearby properties displayed as small circles.
  • As you might expect, hovering your cursor over a marker will pop-up property information.

Keep in mind that Google is aggregating data from various sources – this information isn’t necessarily pulled directly from the MLS’s. Don’t expect the results to be 100% accurate or up-to-date. Google is displaying data gathered using a combination of search captures and data from their various partnerships.

While this functionality is nothing new for Google, they have made it more accessible to the average consumer and this would seem to indicated a renewed focus on the real estate market. While Google is a long way from competing with established search leaders like Zillow.com and Realtor.com, they have a history of slowly fermenting game-changing technology. We’ll keep an eye on this.