Google (NSDQ: GOOG) will no longer show real estate listings on Google Maps, pulling a feature that when launched in July 2009 was was perceived as a significant threat to existing real estate sites. Google, however, says the feature, which let people find available homes and rentals in Google Maps and filter results by square footage and price, saw “low usage.” It also cites the existence of “excellent property-search tools on real estate websites” as driving the decision to retire it.
The move is particularly striking since real estate was frequently mentioned as a search vertical that Google likely wanted to double down on. Indeed, Google was so interested in this space in the past that it reportedly considered purchasing real estate search engine Trulia as recently as a year ago. Executives had also said that an increasing number of people were using the company’s search engine to look up real estate listings and it wanted to serve them better.
Google says it isn’t necessarily giving up on the real estate market yet, noting in a blog post that “there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information than the current feature makes possible” and that it will “continue to explore this area.”