Google drops real estate listings

Real estate listings have been yanked from Google Maps.

That’s the headline in a post on the Google LatLong blog this afternoon. Here’s the money quote:

“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.”

The “low usage” part on the announcement isn’t much of a bombshell. I don’t think most people even knew that you could search for listings on Google Maps. More surprising perhaps is the “retirement” of Google Base.

Some initial thoughts: Maintaining a national property database, and, perhaps more importantly, its concurrent accuracy, is a huge challenge that it looks like even Google realized is too big a pill to swallow.

The good news here is that power is further consolidated in the hands of the current search leaders in this space –, Zillow and Trulia – who no longer need to fear that elephant in the room. The (rather mild) bad news here is for the smaller brokers and agents who were hoping to drive some incremental SEO traffic by syndicating their listings.

Definitely lots more to think about here – so expect more over the next couple of days.

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