Google is taking the real-estate listings in Google Maps off the market.
Citing "low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real-estate Web sites, and the infrastructure challenge posed by the impending retirement of the Google Base API," Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Earth and Maps, said today that the listings would disappear by February 10. For a few years Google has allowed Google Maps users to search for both rental and for-sale listings in a given area, relying on listings uploaded by real-estate companies.
Search Engine Land notes the comment of a U.K. real-estate company, PropertyPals.com, which said it saw "minimal traffic from maps" during its participation in the service, despite Google's attempts to promote it across search results pages. But many top-tier real-estate companies simply didn't participate in that process, preferring to attract users to their own sites during the initial shopping process by simply relying on regular Google searches.
McClendon didn't rule out an eventual return to this type of service, but Google will first have to figure out a way to allow the easy upload of real-estate listings now that Google Base has been dropped in favor of Google Shopping APIs, which don't support listing types such as real estate or jobs. The larger challenge might be convincing the real-estate industry that they would see increased sales from allowing their listings to appear on Google Maps.
Other Google services used by real-estate companies, such as implementing Google Maps on their own sites, will not change, McClendon said.