Well…. It seemed like a no-brainer when Google began pinpointing real estate listings on Google Maps. It could have even been a game-changer.
But Google is pulling the plug — pulling the pins, as it were — because the effort didn’t get the traction the search giant had expected.
“In part 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
In 2009, Google had been mapping home sales and rentals in Australia, then added the U.S. and the U.K. In recent months it was also mapping foreclosures in the U.S.
In the blog post, Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Earth and Maps, said, “… we recognize that there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information than the current feature makes possible. We’ll continue to explore this area.”
While Google made it possible for agents and brokers to upload listings for free — and in bulk — many big brokerages didn’t, preferring instead to drive traffic to their own websites, often employing their own Google Maps mash-ups in the process.
Notably, executives from leading property portals discussed Google’s role just a few weeks ago in New York, during the Property Portal Watch one-day conclave that preceded the annual Inman real estate conference.
AIMGroup’s Executive Editor Peter M. Zollman was there, and blogged
in part about a spirited discussion: “To be clear, if Google wants to win in real estate, no matter what anyone in this room does, they will win in real estate,” said Ed Freyfogle, co-founder of the property portal Nestoria, which operates in eight countries. “If they feel like putting significant resources beside it, ‘game over’ for everyone.”
But Freyfogle was quick add that Google’s real estate initiative “hasn’t been a success at all. Google has to make a decision about what they want to be. … So the game hasn’t been played yet. We’ll see what will happen.”
Our headline over the blog post: “Will Google win in real estate? … Maybe.“
Maybe not this round, anyway.