Google takes on Rightmove, enters UK property market

17/06/2010

Google UK has expanded into the UK property market by adding additional property search functionality to Google Maps. The service is being run in partnership with a number of estate agents, alongside Zoopla and Trinity Mirror. Tools which allow for detailed search for property went live yesterday on Google Maps.

Google said that rather than competing with estate agents, it’s intention is to generate income from advertising which will be displayed around the property results pages. However, a notable absesnse from its list of partners is Rightmove, the current UK market leader in property portals and search.

17/06/2010

Google claims it listed several hundreds of thousands of properties in their search results during the day of the launch. Estate agents and online property companies will not be charged to be partners and their properties listed for free.

The extra property search functionality allows home buyers and renters to search properties by:

- a city or locality
- price range
- type of property (detached, semi etc)
- numbers of bedrooms
- numbers of bathrooms.

Andrew Foster, product manager of Google, said yesterday morning: “It’s a simple and free way for property companies to make their listings even more discoverable, and have them seen on an easy-to-navigate map.”

“About half of the queries on Google have a geographic component,” said Andrew Foster, product manager at Google. “We want Google Maps to be a map that contains all of the world’s information. We know that many UK home buyers are already using Google Maps in their house-hunting, and by adding property listings to the map we’re putting everything together for them in one place.”

Google has signed up a range of UK property partners so far including:

- Countrywide
- Bairstow Eves
- Bridgfords
- Sotherby’s Inernational
- Spicer Haart

It is expected that the large majority of estate agents will welcome Googles’ property search offering and will provide yet another avenue for their online marketing, without charge.

Arrangements have already been made with many online property portals including:

- Zoopla
- Zoomf
- Property Pal
- Vebra
- SmartNewHomes
- Ezylet

Zoopla chief executive Alex Chesterman described the partnership with Google as “a big win for us” in terms of greater exposure for member agents.

“With tens of thousands of properties available the most important thing for us is to showcase to the widest audience in most efficient way,” said Grenville Turner, group chief executive of Countrywide.

More info on the service can be found here.

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