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Google is Getting Ready for an Open House

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Google is one of the best-known brands in the world. When we think about Google we immediately think Google Search, Gmail and YouTube. Although these are three of the most popular Google properties in its portfolio - it's a small subset. Google has over 200 products and services in its collection. They range from AdWords to Google Trends, and as of January 5th 2010, to its latest product the Nexus One.

Google has been a technology company since it was founded back in 1998. Over the past decade Google has been able to leverage search into a multi-billion dollar company. This financial flexibility has allowed Google to venture off into other vertical markets. Two of the most interesting markets that Google is getting involved with are the energy market, Huffington Post - "Google is Going into the Electricity Business," and most recently the real estate market.

Jake Parrillo, Global Communications and Public Affairs at Google, contacted me yesterday and explained that the initial quote is incorrect:

"We're actively looking to acquire one to two small real estate companies a month."

-Katherine Tarbox, REALTOR Magazine

This is what Sebastian actually said at the 2010 Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York City:

Brad Inman pressed Sam Sebastian, Google's director of local and business-to-business markets, about the search engine's plans to buy Trulia. Sebastian would neither confirm nor deny, but said "We're actively looking to acquire one to two companies a month."

-Greg Sterling, Screenwerk

I have to admit I was rather intrigued on why Google would be purchasing real estate companies. I thought it was a rather intelligent move especially since Google is making a push into the local and hyper-local markets.

In any event, it appears that Google might begin its venture into the real estate market with the rumored acquisition of Trulia. 2009 was a good year for Trulia, as they became one of the top 5 real estate sites on the Internet. Trulia is said to be valued anywhere between $150 and $200 million.

We are a real estate search engine that helps you find homes for sale and provides real estate information at the local level to help you make better decisions in the process.

-Trulia | About

This is a rather intelligent buy for Google. The acquisition would allow the company to have direct access to Trulia's property search as well as its hyper-local advertisement platform. If Google indeed plans on buying real estate companies then this will also give it access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). I think that Google will use these real estate services and combine them with Google Maps and Street View to form a new service called "Google Real Estate."

Let's imagine for a moment that you are in the market to buy a house. You head on over to "Google Real Estate." You type in "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500." The listing comes up - you see a map of the area, a street view, the cost of the house, you are able to get a virtual tour of the house as well as all contact information for the local real estate company. As you can see - these joint services introduce a new level of "house hunting."

To capitalize on its rumored real estate purchases for 2010 - I believe that Google will also acquire hyper-local and augmented reality companies. I think that the attempted purchase of Yelp is a profound look into the direction the company is taking. Google is not only getting into the local space but the hyper-local space. Companies such as Foursquare, Gowalla, HopStop and Neogence Enterprises should all be on Google's shopping list. These purchases will allow Google to give a more holistic search experience - whether it's on the web or on your handset.

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