In 2009, Google launched real estate listings as one of the search options in Google Maps. Apparently, this was not a major hit, as the company today announced that it is retiring this feature because of “low usage” and “the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites.”
Google also plans to shut down the Google Base API, which listing providers used to submit their listing to Google Maps. According to the company, this posed major “infrastructure challenges.” Given the low usage of the service, it probably didn’t make sense for Google to re-engineer this API just for real estate listings as the new API is focused on inventory data for stores.
Killed by Zillow?
It’s worth noting that Google never really gave its real estate listings first billing in Google Maps. Unless you knew that feature was there, you would have only really stumbled upon it by accident. Now that sites like Zillow, Estately and others have cornered the market for these listings already, it probably makes more business sense to focus on helping real estate agents market their businesses to potential customers than on spending its engineers’ time on building a better real estate search experience (though if there is one market I can think of that could use even more disruption from the Internet, it’s real estate).