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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Google Maps Adds Real Estate Market Functionality
Service Currently Available Only to Australia

As Google is trying to become everything for everyone, it is, yet again, set to raise a few concerns from the established businesses. In its latest move, the company added real-estate information to Google Maps linking potential buyers and renters to real-estate agents. The feature was developed at Google's Sydney offices and launched in Australia for now but it will be introduced to other markets including the US soon.

“Today we're adding a feature to Google Maps in Australia that we think will make Maps an even more invaluable resource to Aussies as they go about their busy lives. Increasingly, people are heading online when looking for a new house to rent or buy, and from today, we're adding the ability to search for properties on Google Maps. We've worked with partners across the real estate industry to provide up-to-date listings, which you can search for directly from the Google Maps search box,” Andrew Foster, product manager, wrote on Google's Official Australian blog.

The new feature will provide free listing for real-estate agents or publishers in Google Maps, very similar to the functionality already provided by the company to local businesses in several products. The aim is to provide users with a lot more choices and a better view of the market but also of the place they are looking to buy or rent. All the listings in an area will show up as markers in Google Maps and should provide a very intuitive and simple way for finding how well the location is situated when it comes to the proximity of schools or other facilities for example.

For now it is only available Down Under but there are plans to make it available worldwide. While it could prove very valuable for users and should help real-estate agents get better coverage, real-estate publishers are bound to be less than happy with the move as it comes as the business is going through some its worst periods.