Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Google now offers real estate listings through Google Maps

In an effort to stay competitive against similar services used by map providers and real estate agents, Google today more easily added a new Real Estate search function for Google Maps.

A user now can go to Google Maps ( to retrieve information for real estate listings within the visible area. To do this, the user enters a city name in the "Search the map" field, then selects the "Real Estate" tab under "Show more search options."

Results can be organized by price, number of bedrooms or number of bathrooms, and initially shows 10 results per page in a side bar to the left of the Google Map. They can be shown in either "Text View" or "Map View," depending on whether or not the user wants to view the Google Map full screen.

So far, it's obvious that not every house available in the area is being shown. The new feature apparently uses indexing feeds provided by real estate Web sites, which will likely miss houses in a user's area that are available for sale but not listed.

Google now offers real estate listings through Google Maps

Google Maps is already a spotlight feature among some real estate search sites, though many of those sites also offer compelling stand-alone features of their own.

For example, Trulia is a competing service where users have the ability to search by city name and house price. Results are shown in a Google Maps screen with the Google Street View feature. Trulia offers price, price per square foot, realtor name and information, lot size, and a description of the home available for sale or rent.

With Zillow Real Estate, users have the ability to browse search results using Microsoft Virtual Earth. That site offers price, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, year built, and how long the house listing has been on the site.

The first service to use the Google Maps API, HousingMaps, is the most basic one out there, allowing users to see houses for sale, rooms for rent, or sublets. The service uses a combination of Craigslist and Google Maps to help users locate real estate in their local area.

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