All Your Google Base Are Belong To Us- By: Tina Fountain
The MLS may have a powerful competitor in the form of Google Base, the up-and-coming free online database. Google Base allows users to upload virtually any type of content, from full descriptions of the property, pictures, even video – all for free on the most popular search engine currently on the Internet.
The Multiple Listing Service has long dominated the real estate search, but with Google Base, home seekers can narrow down their searches to specific keywords. Real estate sellers have the advantage of reaching Google's audience, the largest audience in the search engine world. This free Google service could be revolutionizing the way that people search for real estate. Home buyers are already largely using the Internet to begin their real estate search. With Google dominating the Internet search engine market so thoroughly, the majority of real estate seekers are going to be exposed to Google’s partner sites and features, which include Google Base.
Google claims that it and its partner sites host over 56% of Internet searches for "real estate" and real estate related terms. Most of the people searching for these terms are looking for home listings or are looking for brokers and real estate agents. Google Base is designed to provide these searchers with quick access to finely tuned results. Want a 2 bedroom home in San Francisco with a fireplace and a fenced back yard? Google Base can narrow down your query in seconds. No searching within listings or having to sign up for drip email campaigns.
Right now only properties that are uploaded by their sellers or representatives will appear on Google Base. If this formidable search engine starts featuring property information that has been gleaned from listings on other websites, the reign of MLS may well be challenged by a fully searchable index that has the added advantage of being free.
If home buyers can gain access to data that MLS has traditionally only allowed agents and brokers to view, it will change the way real estate is found, bought and sold. If people can use a free service to easily disseminate and obtain information that has been hitherto solely available for a price, they are going to go with the free service as opposed to one that costs them hundreds of dollars a year.
The Google Real Estate Blog (googlerealestateblog.blogspot.com) had this to say: “We don't charge for photos or offer "featured listings." We believe that buyers just want to see the home that fits them best and that providers shouldn't have to pay to show it to them. We don't sell houses, deal with agents' compensation, or charge for leads. Our business is helping people find the information they're looking for—when you have it, we send them directly to you.”
Only time will tell whether Google Base will grow to be a serious competitor with Realtor.com. It seems for now that Realtor.com has the ascendency, but as more and more information becomes free to post, disseminate and use, people will no doubt gravitate towards the cheapest and easiest way to get the information they need when buying or selling real estate.
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