Google Maps has announced changes to its real estate listings. Its real estate category is now more prominent, and rental listings have been added in the US. A new Comparison Ads tool has also been announced that is geared towards the mortgage market.
The Google Maps “more” menu, which allows users to select layers displaying photos, videos and other categories, now includes the option to choose a real estate layer. Once selected, listings appear as dots on the map as well as information in a panel to the left, both linking back to the original listing source.
As well as using listing information from free classifieds search engine Google Base, the Google Maps real estate search is now displaying listings that link back to sources such as century21.com and realestatebook.com in the US, and smaller portals allhomes.com.au and homehound.com.au in Australia.
Google added property listings to Google Maps in July this year and now includes them in the US, Australia, New Zealand and India. propertyportalwatch.com has previously pointed out the challenges Google will need to overcome before its real estate search will impact on property portals, including building a comprehensive database of active listings. The addition of rental properties in the US is another step towards achieving this goal.
Google’s new Comparison Ads tool, launched in a select number of US states last week, prompts users to compare the sponsored advertisements that appear at the top of a search results page. Mortgages are the first product to be covered, but the Google AdWords announcement explains that more categories will be included in future.
The Google Maps blog post does not give any clues as to what future upgrades to its real estate search might be, but it seems safe to assume Google’s interest in real estate will only increase as time goes on.