Google Maps the Next Real Estate Search Engine?

I guess it was just a matter of time before Google decided to monetize on the home search queries. Many of  the real estate related websites are now using google maps (in the form of a plugin) as part of their listings, and so far is working out just fine.googlemap-re-550x458

I’ve noticed more and more properties appearing on google maps – or  Google Real Estate 2.0 as they are calling it- since this last summer, and the last time I checked there were a lot of listings from the west  coast of the US. But slowly is moving into Canadian territory. More and more Canadian cities are listing their properties online with google base. Agents and brokers are able to upload their listings via google base or RSS (I have yet to check into it). I was surprised to see that not many brokers/agencies listed from Montreal, there are 2 main websites getting most of the hits from google real estate map searches.

Will they compete with the MLS®, Realtor® website?
Compete, most probably. But they are neither a broker nor an MLS system, according to their disclaimer. The complete answer and explanation are found in their FAQ for Real Estate Agents and Brokers:

“Is Google a broker? A national MLS?
We’re neither. Our role is to connect users as quickly as possible with the information they need. People come to us looking for all kinds of information, including housing listings, comparable pricing, and how to find an agent or broker in their area. In all cases, we want to deliver these users to the industry experts who can provide the most useful answers.”

Well, as long as they don’t start crawling the MLS the database -without permission- they will be lawsuit free. It makes me wonder if, say, 5 years from now, Google Maps -Real Estate 2.0 will be more popular than our Realtor’s site. We’ll have to wait and see.

What do you think?