October 11, 2011

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Google Challenging rightmove.co.uk?

The Internet is currently abuzz with the news that Google Maps has launched its property search in the UK - a similar service to that already offered to property hunters in Australia and New Zealand.

Now, maps.google.co.uk offers users a “properties” option in its “more” menu, which brings up listings added by agents as well as property websites.

Google says zoopla.co.uk, propertylive.co.uk, ezylet.com, smartnewhomes.com, Vebra, propertypal.com, SpicerHaart, Countrywide, and zoomf.com have all added listings so far.

But there is one portal that is choosing not to participate at this stage - UK market leader rightmove.co.uk. The portal says it welcomes Google Maps’ property search, but that its figures show property hunters still prefer listings displayed in a list format rather than on a map.

“Users appreciate being able to locate an individual property on a map, but seem to want it right alongside the detailed property information and the other research resources that rightmove.co.uk provides,” said rightmove.co.uk commercial director Miles Shipside.

“I’m sure that estate and lettings agents will try a search on their own area in Google wearing a home hunter’s hat, and judge for themselves the quality of the user experience.”

The prospect of Google Maps drawing home hunters away from rightmove.co.uk is an interesting one for UK real estate agents. If a free-to-list service like maps.google.co.uk became the website of choice for home hunters, where would that leave rightmove.co.uk’s subscription fees?

Alongside this question is the issue of private sellers, and the possibility that they could use Google Maps to list their own properties, bypassing agents altogether.

Google product manager Andrew Foster told propertydrum.com that while it is possible for home owners to list on Google Maps, they would first need a website listing their home, and would then have to add their listing details to Google Maps.

“Our experience in Australia has shown that there has not been any significant take up of this facility,” Foster said.

Of course, it’s early days for Google Maps property search in the UK, but we’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue. Do you think this will change the game for UK agents? For agents in countries where Google Maps’ real estate search has already been established - have you noticed any significant changes for your business?


Related posts:

  1. Google Reveals Real Estate “Vision”
  2. Rightmove Overseas Cuts Rates
  3. rightmove Launches Huge Marketing Campaign
  4. More Real Estate Upgrades from Google Maps
  5. Google’s Latest Releases Part 3: New Maps Perspective
  6. Google Real Estate – Should Agents Bank On It?
  7. Google’s Tools: Will You Use Them?
  8. Google Maps Highlights Real Estate
  9. Google: We’re Not in Real Estate
  10. The Challenges for Google Real Estate

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