Google Buffs Up Its Real Estate Listings
When Google does anything, you have to pay attention. Slowly, the Internet search behemoth is making its home-sale listings easier to use. You'll find them on Google Maps, where you can simply enter a search phrase such as "Homes For Sale Silver Spring, Md." and call up a map with listings highlighted.
I did such a search, narrowing it down to homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000, and was puzzled by some of the listings Google chose to highlight most prominently. They were scattered around the broad area that uses Silver Spring as a mailing address. And the ninth one on the list was actually located in the District, far away from Silver Spring.
A blog posting by Heather Hopkins, analyst for Hitwise, a company that measures Web traffic, showed that Google was not among the top 10 real estate Web sites in the week ending July 4. Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors' site, had the biggest number of visits by far, with 7.6 percent of all real estate site visits. Zillow came in second, with 3.7 percent. Then came Yahoo real estate and Zip Realty, each with about 2.9 percent, and Trulia and Rent.com, each with 2 percent. Rounding out the top 10 were RE/MAX Real Estate, Homegain, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Homes.com, each with less than 2 percent of all visits to real estate sites.
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