Lat Long, Google's Earth and Maps team's blog, announced that they are excluding the real estate search & listing feature from Google Maps. This comes as a rather surprising news as the option was just introduced in July 2009. It has run for only a mere 7 months duration and available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Japan up till now.
Brian McClendon, VP, Google Earth and Maps said, “In part due to low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites, and the infrastructure challenge posed by the impending retirement of the Google Base API (used by listing providers to submit listings), we’ve decided to discontinue the real estate feature within Google Maps on February 10, 2011.,” citing the reasons for the move. In all, the feature will have a very short functional period of just 8 months.
The discontinuation of the feature also means that the 'Place Pages,' a strong feature for individual property listings, that implied Google's aim to be a major party in the real estate search, in Google Maps will go too. However, Google seem to have taken the risk; experimented and learned a lot in the process.
This move seems like a major step, leaving one pondering as what is Google up to next? especially when reports show that, recently, more people are going online for their real estate related searches. Brian further added that “Yet we recognize that there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information than the current feature makes possible. We’ll continue to explore this area, but in the meantime, Google offers other options to home-seekers: you can still access other information in Maps such as local businesses, directions and transit times, as well as aerial and Street View imagery to explore where you might want to move, and also use Google search results to find helpful real estate information and websites.,” hinting a bigger comeback (“We’ll continue to explore this area”) later? Well, time will tell.