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Industry gurus on Google, leads, market conditions

Panelists say there is still opportunity in a declining market

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Brokers and other real estate industry gurus discussed Google's classified real estate listings service, a rise in online advertising, declining real estate lead-conversion rates, and the birth of new boutique brokerages during a Wednesday discussion at a real estate conference. Justin McCarthy, strategic partner development manager for Google's real estate division, told the audience of real estate professionals not to fear Google's free online classified service, called Google Base. The service is intended to help consumers drill down to more relevant information when they conduct real estate searches. For example, Google is now populating its mainstream Web search results with data from its classified service, McCarthy noted, so that consumers have the option to narrow their real estate searches specific to property listings. A panel of real estate experts responded to audience questions about industry issues during an "Internet Strategy for Brokers" session at the...