back to article Google moves tanks onto property market's lawns

Google's latest target for freeing to death is, says the Financial Times, the UK property market. According to the paper, the company intends to launch a service offering estate agents free property listings early next year, and to bankroll it through advertising. Currently UK online property listings are conducted via portals …


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  1. JetSetJim

    Similar to what someone has already tried...

    Although the site seems borked, right now, and I doubt it was free to list - but is has the whole Google/Web2.0 feel to it, so it must be cool & trendy

    1. Ben 5

      Re: Similar to what someone has already tried... was great. The site that replaces it ( - there is a small link to it on the front of has preserved some of the functionality though. If you search for an area, then in the results click on 'MAP' it does show you a Google Map with the properties, and you can refine your search criteria on the right.

      Not as good as was I grant you, but all it not lost. Still looking forward to when Google launch their version.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Why stop there...

    Why not move all government functions to Google, paid for by advertising

    - Healthcare - enter your symptoms, buy the cure from the attached ads

    - Education - enter your knowledge requirements, be sold the relevant learning pack and/or certificate

    - Defence - enter your enemy country, hire the relevant mercenaries to invade

    - Law - been mis-sold healthcare, education, defence .....

    The possibilities are endless ... I for one welcome our PageRank wielding Overlords

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I for one, welcome our Page-Ranking Overlords

      Hell yeah. Things that actually work for once? Isn't that a sign of the Apocalypse?

      Seriously though, I hope Google helps me sell my house. It isn't as if anyone else has had much success, or actually put much effort in it. Real Estate agents in the US can't understand English to save their lives.

      "What does gigabit ethernet networking installed mean?" indeed.

  3. Jelliphiish
    Thumb Up

    residential users

    or is it just for estate agents?

    it would be nice to bypass them as a sales portal. they charge too much.


  4. sarahemmm

    What's not to like?

    Use StreetView to walk around your favoured area, checking which houses are on sale - what's not to like?

  5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Google doesn't need estate agents

    A barrier to selling your own house (without the services of an estate agent) is getting the publicity. If Google make it possible for Joe Public to market their house across the entire country for nothing, then they've just saved Joe a thousand quid. Joe might be interested.

    Quite a lot of people will be happy to sell their house with the help of a solicitor and a Google listing. (Very few will be willing to drop the solicitor, but that too is perfectly possible.) If so, *this* would be a fast-growing market where RightMove currently have a 0% share, not 80%.

    (If only Google could park their tanks on Alistair Darling's lawn and eliminate stamp duty...)

    1. andreas koch

      @Ken Hagan

      If this would mean that a few Estate agents go bust, just the better - they are VIP passengers on the Golgafrincham Ark anyway.

    2. dylan 4

      @Ken Hagan

      If you think estate agents only make a thousand quid commission from a sale, either commissions or houses must be cheap in your area! Typycal commissions in my neck of the woods run upwards from 3%...

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: 3% commission

        "Typical commissions in my neck of the woods run upwards from 3%"

        Ouch! I was trying not to overstate my case, but I wasn't being silly about it. When I last moved (3 years ago) typical commissions were around 1% and Cambridge had very little on offer below 100k. Had I been selling a small flat, I believe I would only have paid around £1000 for the man to put up a board and get in the way.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    One day

    all intewebs will be made this way.

    In a small amount of years to come I fully expect any access to the internet to only be available through the Chocolate Factory Oompa Loompa's.

    'Like a dark shroud all web pages will be adsensed and a blanket of integrated profiling data will spread across the land...'

    Where is a hobbit when you need one?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Use StreetView to walk around your favoured area, checking which houses are on sale/empty and go rob them - what's not to like?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @an other

      > Use StreetView to walk around your favoured area, checking which houses are on sale/empty and go rob them - what's not to like?

      Christ. Because people cant do then on their own legs, and see which houses are for sale on BIG SALE BOARDS THAT ARE ON THE HOUSES...

      I still fail to fathom why people have a problem with street view. It gives you a snapshot of a road in time. It's not like I can use it to peer in, through your curtains, and see what you are up to at any given moment. Its one snapshot ever few months. Get over it.

    2. fifi

      stop and think for a moment...

      If the house is empty, what is there to rob?

    3. Anonymous Coward

      @A.N Other

      Why would you rob an empty house?

      1. Fred 24


        ..rob anything?

      2. Marvin the Martian

        Why rob empty houses?

        Maybe if you have a small house, you can go steal the airy interior of an empty, spacious house?

        I think the idea was that if you have your house for sale, you know there'll be stangers walking around and touching your stuff, possibly stealing some nicknacks; I doubt however the owners will become so laidback they don't look up from a mask wearing stranger dragging out the LCD tv.

    4. Nic 3
      Thumb Up

      Tin hats...

      Because everyone is watching you. As all other responses say. You're missing the point of robbing a house...

      Back to the issue, I saw this coming a mile off. It makes logical sense for Google to do this and bypass estate agents too.

      The only reason the direct model has failed to grow up until now has been the likes of Rightmove blocking attemps of direct sales portals listing on their systems. This is the same thing that happened with on-line recruitment. Agencies try to hold on to their business by pressurising the consumer sites into not going direct.

      In Job boards this was the same as direct employers having CV database access on job sites which was understandably resisted by the agency market. It had to happen though eventually.

      Back to Property sales, nothing is there to pressurise Google from allowing home owners to advertise direct and if they have any sense that is exactly what they will do.

      You can only be a middle man so long...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh, of course, because google maps are updated every half an hour, and what's worse, every house for sale is empty all day long, unlike the one's where, oh, I dunno, the adults are at work and the children are at school?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @A.N Other: @sarahemmm

    "checking which houses are on sale/empty and go rob them - what's not to like?"

    If they're empty, I don't see much point in robbing them, personally. YMMV.

    Most of the houses I've looked at which were for sale still had people living in them. The only ones which were vacant (that's the word you were after) were the ones where the owner had died, which normally means that the house is full of old crap and everything smells of piss... not worth nicking.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I ♥ Google

    It's my One Stop shop of Internet Search Engines!!!

    Long live Google!!

  11. Daniel 1

    Well, as someone in the process of looking for a house at the moment

    I can attest that I use Google very extensively in looking for potential properties - or checking a property out, once I do find one. You can gauge a lot about a place, just by looking at it, on Satellite view (I'm searching in a semi-rural area, so street view isn't an option - and I should probably append a 'yet' onto the end of that statement, really, since the scanner cars continue their relentless march). If I do find my way to the likes of Rightmove, it is invariably via a Google search.

    Now, I cannot comment on the Orwellian implications for our imperiled freedom, that a Google property offering might have, but I can say, without doubt, that a property search system that closely integrated with Google maps would be a damn sight more useful than Rightmove's clumsy 'within 1 mile of... within 5 miles of... within 10 miles of...' search form, since 'within ten miles of' some of the properties I'm currently looking at encompasses most of the opposite bank of a major river, and large portions of the North Sea, and Rightmove's antiquated interface does not allow me to make informed searches based on those sorts criteria. Google has a definite edge in doing anything that involves service + very specific search requirements + geography.

    Will it succeed? Almost certainly, since the current opposition is so weak and actually costs money. The only thing that will hold it back is the glacial speeds at which Estate Agents react to anything.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Street view to hoover up for sale boards

    ... in the UK that would lead to an awful lot of mis labeled houses for sale... as it is still very common here for estate agents to put up their boards outside properties like flats, where no-one person knows whether it should be there or not.

    I had 7 for sale signs outside my flat for 3 years, i rang the estate agents daily to ask which flat it was... always just gone.

  13. Scott Broukell

    @daniel 1

    here's a tip: if a particular property really catches your eye, park up a couple of times nearby, both late at night and during the day to observe what the traffic, (vehicular, human etc.) and general feel of the environment is like. It's a great way to find out which nieghbours like bangin' musik late at night and if the place is a rush-hour rat run in the day time.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    don't worry .. they'll

    f*** it up - google is only good at "search"

    ps Google Healtcare UK is next target - free medical service with Ad(non)Sense ads

    Think "Kidneys from freshly shot Chinese prisoners for only $1500 " on the Hospital Menus for "Chilli Con Carne with fresh kidney beans"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Don't people geddit

      Search is a by product of google's business model. Everything is about the accumulation of personal and profile data. the better to target advertising.

      adsense and its blind bid process for placed adds is all geared to maximise income, not provide great search. They auction the right to advertise trademaked names that they do not own and sometimes the tradmark advert is not by the company that owns it... it is all very clever stuff.

      Maps, health, email, docs, picasa, OS, mobiles, all your personal data and activities ... little by little the jigsaw pieces to the ultimate personal profiling machine is taking place on our browsers... time to wake up to it... or accept it and sail on

      ... but please don't tell me they are only good at search. I would argue that they do search as well.

  15. OffBeatMammal


    it'll be interesting to see if Google move into the US with this - where folks like Redfin ( are already making the process a lot smoother (and upsetting traditional real estate agents)

    1. IR

      They already are

      US Google maps have had something similar for a long time. I found my current house (lived here for more than 2 years now) using it. They have recently changed it a bit, but it still only has data from a few estate agents.

      Isn't this just an article from a few months ago with a tiny extra bit of new info on it? Even the title seems very familiar.

  16. Gordon Pryra

    Google Tanks

    I just want to see a Google Sherman driving down my road.....

  17. raving angry loony

    wrong end of the shit stick

    When I last bought a property in the UK I found the UK property market mechanics to be completely and utterly archaic, unethical and corrupt. A country where terms such as "gazumping" and "gazundering" exist, let alone are legal as tactics, is a market that needs a complete overhaul. No amount of websites will ever fix that.

  18. Richard 102

    Is it just me ...

    ... or will google get to the point where, because they offer so many free services via advertisement, there will be no more companies in business left to buy those advertisements?

    Or should I quit sniffing this Ajax?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @fif et al

    What is there to rob in an empty house? Plenty!

    Many houses still contain original Victorian fixtures and fittings (fireplaces etc). These are worth a fortune to the right people and *have* been stolen from empty (ie unoccupied) houses.

    As to comments about what is wrong with just going around and "casing" the area in person - never heard of Neighborhood Watch? Much easier to do it from the comfort of your pc before going there in person and much less likely to get you reported by the neighborhood busy-bodies...

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