Google Base is improving its real estate search capability but still lacks accurate and complete listing data

July 24, 2009
Updated Nov 23, 2009

Until recently, Canadians attempting to locate and research homes online were out of luck – unless they were a Realtor with access to MLS.

In the past year, however, some new options have been placed on the table. Rogers launched Zoocasa an interactive site for researching resale homes across Canada. The Canadian Real Estate Association gave MLS a makeover providing greater functionality to regular users. And Google unveiled it’s Google Base Real Estate Search which is beginning to look and function fairly well.

At the end of the day, potential purchasers require a real estate search tool that is easy to use and displays accurate and up to date results. Roger’s Zoocasa may be the most visually appealing site but if its data is inaccurate it becomes quickly branded as an unreliable service.

To get an idea of how these three services compare and the inroads that Google Base is making lets look at the following three snippets – of the same location – from MLS, Zoocasa and Google Base (at the moment, these are the main three online sources that Canadians looking to research resale homes in Canada select from. ):

As shown by the images above they are all displaying somewhat different listings for the same location – with Google showing the least amount of listings.

It may be safely assumed that the MLS data is the most accurate as it is being compiled by actual Realtors (unfortunately, CREA restricts the public from viewing sales comparables, days on the market, and other pertinent information that it provides to only its agents).

Google Base, on the other hand, is most probably a hybrid ‘scraper’ site. It asks users to upload listings via its open API but I suspect its pulling most of its listings off other websites (scraping) to compile its data – not as accurate, yet.

Zoocasa also appears to be doing a little ‘scraping’ together with a certain amount of human verification. Again, not so accurate, yet.

So, the race is on. Google Base needs better listings; Zoocasa needs to work on verifying it’s information; the Canadian Realtors Association needs to provide more in depth access to its data; and we, as users, need to keep scouring the Internet for current, accurate and in depth information as there remains no one perfect source.

For those interested in locating and researching new residential developments, however, the answer of where to go is simple:

Cliff M. Peskin
Co-President / Co-Founder

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