Google and the Real Estate Squish

January 18, 2010

When I was putting the finishing touches on Google: The Digital Gutenberg, I did some testing of the “old” Google Base. That service, before it underwent a major overhaul, included job listings and real estate listing. You may have stumbled upon real estate information when you were searching Google Local. I found that for certain areas, the system would provide pictures of houses for sale and in some cases backlinks to more detailed listings. If you navigate to Google Local and run the query “condominium Baltimore Maryland” you could (at 9 24 am, January 17, 2009, see this result set:

condo baltimore

I have written extensively about various Google technologies that make this type of service possible. These include the programmable search engine invention and the work of the dataspace team, among others.

I read in “Google to Scoop Up Real Estate Sites” that some talk about Google purchasing real estate services. My research indicates that acquisitions are an easy way for Google to acquire expertise. The potential of Google’s providing a meta service to organize and make coherent the patchwork of services related to real property has been on the Google radar for years. My recollection is that Google patent documents from the early 2000s reference these types of applications.

When thinking about real estate, it may be helpful to keep in mind the range of services that a real estate transaction requires. My hunch is that real estate is one exemplary application of Google’s approach to online services.

To sum up, if the publishing and telco sector thought that Google was disruptive, wait until the real estate food chain figures out what’s about to happen. Once again: when you see overt instances of a Google application, it is too late. This is the gap problem that befuddles a number of companies affected by the Google’s expanding technical domain. Visualize a hard copy publication containing houses for sale and rent. Visualize a Google real estate service on a mobile device. Yikes, bad news for the directory crowd do you think?

Stephen E Arnold, January 18, 2010

Ah, gentle reader, no one paid me to put this shameless plug for my Google monographs in this blog. I will report this to the US Department of Housing & Urban Development.


One Response to “Google and the Real Estate Squish”

  1. Google and the Real Estate Squish : Beyond Search | All the SEO News That's Fit to Tweet! on January 18th, 2010 1:29 am

    […] the original post: Google and the Real Estate Squish : Beyond Search Share and […]

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