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"Google, Don't Be Evil!"

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4/3/09 Interview with Abe Murray

Google Inc.
5 Cambridge Center
Cambridge , MA 02142

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The Importance of the Real Estate Market to Google

  1. Google has developed new, structured information on real estate by reaching out to data providers, primarily in US Residential markets.
  2. Google has no agenda to begin charging for distribution of real estate information or to compete with real estate brokers; the goal is to get more information into its index and to let as many people see it as possible.

Google Maps as a Real Estate Tool

  1. Google Maps is a solution for making rich, aggregated information about homes for sale available to users through layers of displays; Google wants to put real estate information about the address in front of the user.
  2. Agents and brokers should take advantage of Google’s Local Business Search service by having their office listed as a business on Google Maps (at no charge); they can also purchase a Sponsored Link, which displays as an ad at the top of related search results.
  3. The predominate way for users to find an agent is through their searches for specific properties; if Google Maps has information about an agent’s listings, users will be able to click through to the agent’s web site when they see a property listing.

How to Post Listings on Google

  1. Go to Google Base, a contact delivery mechanism for many of Google’s structured search properties; at the bottom right of the home page under the title, “Detailed Instructions for Providers,” click on the Real Estate link.
  2. A wealth of information about entering data is on the Real Estate page; thousands of RE pros enter a daily feed of listings, which are then put into Google Maps and used to enter questions on
  3. An advantage for listing agents is that Google shows users all the links to data, whereas some Web aggregators do not directly link to the agent.

Boosting Marketing with Google Earth Pro

How to Save Money with Google

  1. Free listings distribution is an obvious way to save money; for those who do not want to enter listings onto Google Base themselves, third parties offer that services for free; ListHub is one of many examples.
  2. ListHub reaches into the MLS or brokerage, pulls out listings and posts them to Google Base as well as other distribution points designated on a checklist.
  3. Free listings distribution can drive more targeted traffic to an agent’s web site by facilitating prescreening; online searching reduces the number of houses homebuyers want to visit—agents waste less time.
  4. Google’s ad system has features that help agents optimize ad campaigns; any layperson can experiment with advertising for just a couple dollars a day; Google believes in the return on investment of pay per click advertising.

Tips for Setting Up an Ad Campaign

  1. Go to Google maps and search on keywords unique to your listing area; you may find searches that have few or no ads on—buy them cheaply.
  2. At there is information about how to set up ads—the process is simple; explore the web site for guidance.
  3. An individual can purchase Google ads using a personal credit card; you can set a limit on how much money you want to spend per day.
  4. Advertisements can be restricted to a region, and there are other possible limits, such as time; using the system’s limits prevents wasting money paying for clicks from people you don’t think will be interested in your listings.

Google Maps and Google Earth

  1. The two mapping functions are served by the same back end; the same information is available to them for local business searches; further integration into real estate information is a goal.
  2. The new StreetView feature, street-level pictures, feed into both Google Maps and Google Earth coverage is in the process of being expanded— more suburbs and towns have recently been added.

Search Engine Optimization

  1. Google does not take a position on search engine optimization companies and does not endorse any; Google wants its search results to reflect the truth and to get the best results to the top.
  2. Murray suggests that if web site owners focus on the basics of providing content that people want, search results sort themselves out.

Favorite Places on the Web

  1. Murray uses Gmail as a basic tool to conduct business; Google Reader aggregates (via RSS feeds) articles from sites of his choice to keep him current with professional news.
  2. The primary tech-oriented site he follows is Ars Technica; real estate news sites are too numerous to list.
  3. Google Latitudes, a new integration with Google Maps for Mobile, allows personal tracking on GPS equipped mobile phones; friends can opt to share their location on a map; the feature has real estate potential for displaying nearby open houses or an agent’s whereabouts.
Contact Information for Abe Murray:

(v) 617-575-1300

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
Google Maps:
Google Base:
Google Earth Pro:
List Hub:
Google AdWords:
StreetView introduction:
Google Reader: htpp://
Ars Technica:
Google Maps for Mobile: