Trulia is: a) An Internet innovation from a few Stanford grads, b) A Google Maps mod; c) An online home-search site for consumers; d) An Internet lead-generation site for real estate agents and brokers.

Yes, yes, yes and yes., now in beta testing, grabs property listings from about 100,000 real estate Web sites in California and displays basic property information while mapping property locations. Trulia’s founders have plans to go national.

Though there is still debate within the industry about whether real estate brokers should tightly control or freely disseminate property listings information, there is a groundswell among real estate companies to assemble large pools of property listings for consumers to view online. RE/MAX and Cendant Corp., for example, are among the major real estate brokerage companies that are making it easier for consumers to search their vast storehouses of national property listings information.

And a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors seeks to further open the industry’s online property listings to the public.

Trulia’s maps are interactive and its property lists can be customized based on price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and size. The site also offers information on average house prices, days on market, prices per square foot, average sale to list price, and individual homes that recently sold in the search area.

“We don’t host listings – we direct consumers to where the listings are,” said Pete Flint, co-founder and CEO. “The key marketing for homes should be on the agent’s Web site or broker’s Web site. It’s their listing, their site. Think of us almost like a shopping comparison site for real estate.”

“We are not in the business of selling homes…but offering truthful, trustworthy information,” said Sami Inkinen, COO and co-founder. Trulia’s name (pronounced TROO-lee-uh) is borrowed from this ideal of truthful information. “We need to be the unbiased, independent body for consumers.”

As consumers narrow their searches, they are connected to agents’ Web sites. “We have a mantra: ‘Search, compare, connect,'” Flint said. Consumers can search for properties, compare those properties with other properties and with the overall market, and then connect with real estate agents if they want more information.

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