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Google says it’s not in real estate business

Product manager details search engine giant's latest intiatives

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Google isn't looking to take on the role of a "universal MLS," but is developing increasingly sophisticated search tools that will someday allow consumers to snap a picture of a house and conduct a "visual search" for information about it and similar properties. Briefing attendees of Inman News' Real Estate Connect San Francisco, Carter Maslan, Google's director of product management, provided a big-picture overview of where real estate fits into the company's overall strategy. "What we are doing in real estate is really (no different than) what we are doing in (other areas of) local search," Maslan said. If there's a property for sale, wherever it's mentioned on the Web -- whether on "Rotten Neighborhoods" or -- Google wants to put those pages at users' fingertips. Google makes money by putting paid ads next to "natural search" results generated by users' keyword searches. The compa...