Back in July of 2009, Google announced a Maps projects that would allow users to search for the details of local property. This included the location, cost, images, and descriptions of rental and purchase properties in the U.S., UK, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. Now, however, the feature is being cast into the heaping stack of Google’s failed experiments; its impending retirement was announced at the end of January.
The Google LatLong blog sites several reasons, but it all comes down to the reality that other sites can do it better. This isn’t to say that Google didn’t do a decent job, but merely that upcoming shifts in Google’s API would create such an infrastructure hurdle that it simply won’t be worth keeping up this feature. After all, it sees a low level of usage, especially compared with real estate search sites.
The Google staff statement indicates that they believe Google Maps and other resources will continue to play a big role in the real estate search for many users, but that those utilities will be integrated by real estate companies rather than by Google itself. The use of Google Maps for web utilities or even mobile app solutions could be a highly successful approach to market real-estate — and Google cites several successful implementations of Google products through real estate companies, including from Coldwell Banker and Realtor.com, to support this claim.
The shutdown of real estate search will happen on February 10th, and while the doors are being shut for now, the Maps team also indicates that they may not be closed permanently. “We recognize there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information,” the statement reads. “We’ll continue to explore this area.”