Will Properties and Advertising on Google Maps Change the Real Estate Market?

Anthony Marshall
Anthony Marshall
3 Sept 2009
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Google has never hidden the fact that whilst it is a company driven by innovation, it also needs to drive revenue and profit and the most prevalent route for this is has been through advertising (via pay per click). However, as Google now broadens its offerings, it appears to be taking advantage of other revenue streams.


A few months ago Google launched property search functionality through Google Maps in the US and Australia and this is soon to be followed by launches in the UK and other countries: view Google Maps with property listings in London, UK. Google also appears to be investigating geographically targeted advertising within its mapping. If you want more details please refer to the blog article by Tom Krazit.This begs a few questions:


1. How will property portals that currently use Google Maps react to Google Maps being a competitor? Examples include, PropertyFinder, Fish4Homes and Your-Move?


2. If you are an Estate Agent with Google as your default map, how would you feel if other competitor company’s adverts start appearing on the map in your site?


Until now, using Google Maps has been the default position as it has often been free to use (though there is some debate about the interpretation of the license agreement) but if adverts for your competitors start appearing on Google Maps or if Google have become your competition, will that persuade portals and estate agents to leave Google Maps and migrate over to other APIs such as Bing Maps, Multimap, MapQuest, OpenStreetMap etc.  Many of these do attract a license fee but in return they offer service levels and guarantee that no adverts will appear on the maps to mitigate against the cost.


It is also worth noting that Google has been very open about these developments and you can pay for a commercial license including support and no adverts and use this in your own site.


From our point of view, at Earthware, we try and stay agnostic and recommend the best mapping API for each client based on their needs and the merits of each mapping API. However, we suspect that the recent moves by Google are likely to shake up the market for property mapping and rather than default to using Google, estate agents and property websites are going to have to be much more deliberate about which mapping they use to advertise their properties online.


If you would like to talk to someone in the Earthware team about how this is likely to impact your business and what your options are then please drop us a line to or call +44 (0) 845 642 9880 and ask to speak to Lauren.


Neil Osmond

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