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Google – taking over the property world?

publication date: Dec 9, 2009
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Google Austraila Property MapsGo to, click ‘Maps’ - in the ‘search’ box, type in Surry Hills, click ‘show search options’ select ‘real estate’ from the ‘all results’ drop down list, click search.

Instantly, a list of properties available in that (very pleasant) area of Sydney are displayed on a map. At the side, there are brief descriptions, with prices and the name of the agent. Click further and all is revealed.

No portal, no front page, no need to register, no delays, no irritating adverts.
Oh, and no cost to the agent.

Obviously, the Aussies have been a testing ground before Google launched its property search on the UK; it has obviously been a reasonable success because, folks, this show is coming to your town.

Excellent news? Well that depends who you are. If you run a portal, you’ll be worried. If you’re looking to move, you’ll be very pleased; it’s quick and simple. If you are an agent, paying for listings on various portals, you may be rejoicing – you won’t need them any more – or will you?

The portals will not, naturally, admit to being concerned. Miles Shipside, Commercial Director, Rightmove, told the BBC: "It remains to be seen what actually happens, Google is a big name, but they don't always manage to follow things through on a local level.” But his comments didn’t stop their shares sliding.
Peter Rollings, MD of Marsh & Parsons, told the Daily Express: “Google is the first place to start searching for anything – being able to look for a home on it would be great for our customers.”

However, we at PROPERTYdrum wonder if it’s the thin end of the wedge.

Google says that it will work with estate agents to list their properties, but Google is no shirk when it comes to breaking new ground. What is to stop them allowing the public to directly list their property for sale or to rent – reach like minded buyers and tenants, save thousands on agent’s fees?

Google plans to launch the facility in the UK in 2010. Propertydrum can’t say exactly when and where that launch will take place but Ben Wood, Head of Property at Google UK will be speaking at the Property Professional Show 2010, in Birmingham on 17/18 May. Save the day!

More news on this in PROPERTYdrum’s next issue – out on 25 January!