Google closing door on real estate in Google Maps

Changes to the upload APIs used in Google Maps as well as low usage means that Google has decided to pull back from the real-estate listing game.

Real estate for sale around CNET's downtown San Francisco headquarters, as listed in Google Maps. Google will be retiring the feature in a few weeks.
Real estate for sale around CNET's downtown San Francisco headquarters, as listed in Google Maps. Google will be retiring the feature in a few weeks. Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET

Google is taking the real-estate listings in Google Maps off the market.

Citing "low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real-estate Web sites, and the infrastructure challenge posed by the impending retirement of the Google Base API," Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Earth and Maps, said today that the listings would disappear by February 10. For a few years Google has allowed Google Maps users to search for both rental and for-sale listings in a given area, relying on listings uploaded by real-estate companies .

Search Engine Land notes the comment of a U.K. real-estate company, PropertyPals.com, which said it saw "minimal traffic from maps" during its participation in the service, despite Google's attempts to promote it across search results pages. But many top-tier real-estate companies simply didn't participate in that process, preferring to attract users to their own sites during the initial shopping process by simply relying on regular Google searches.

McClendon didn't rule out an eventual return to this type of service, but Google will first have to figure out a way to allow the easy upload of real-estate listings now that Google Base has been dropped in favor of Google Shopping APIs, which don't support listing types such as real estate or jobs. The larger challenge might be convincing the real-estate industry that they would see increased sales from allowing their listings to appear on Google Maps.

Other Google services used by real-estate companies, such as implementing Google Maps on their own sites, will not change, McClendon said.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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