Recently, I Googled "Google for real estate professionals" and came across this page for real estate agents! Google truly has some fantastic (and free) applications that can enhance any agent or broker’s business.
Here are my top nine favorite Google products for real estate agents:
1. Google Maps
Google offers a free service that lets you make your listings easier for homebuyers and real estate agents to find when they look for properties on Google.com.
2. Submit listings to Google Base.
By providing your real estate listings to Google, you will broaden your distribution and receive free traffic and leads through natural search results on Google properties. Real estate search results will be displayed on Google Maps, allowing users to immediately zero in on the neighborhoods most attractive to them.
3. Google Maps API
You can also place interactive maps on your own website using the Google Maps API (application programming interface). Display your listings on detailed maps and satellite imagery and give your users a visual, intuitive way to find the property that is right for them. Also, use the Google Maps API to show the location of your office and provide directions to your door.
4. Google Earth
Give your agents and clients the power of three-dimensional satellite imagery with Google Earth Pro. Exceeding 200 million downloads, Google Earth has redefined the way people interact with real estate and property information. Publish your listings in Google Earth’s KML data format to expose them to Google Earth’s audience.
Also, give your company the ability to research and present property information overlaid with school districts, parks, roads and business listings.
5. List your business on Google Places
Over one-third of people looking for real estate information on Google are searching for agents or brokers. You want your name and address to be displayed when they search. Google Places gives real estate professionals an easy way to submit business listings. Submit multiple locations with a data file and conveniently manage and control listings.
6. Market homes in 3-D with Google SketchUp
Google SketchUp Pro is a deceptively simple, amazingly powerful tool for creating, presenting, and modifying 3D models. Model your properties in Google SketchUp and give your clients a 3D view. Enhance your website listing by using the animation capability of Google SketchUp Pro.
Allow customers to freely explore the home, community and its surroundings in 3D. You can also use Google SketchUp Pro to print to high-resolution devices, place your models in Google Earth, and post them to the 3D Warehouse.
7. Gmail and Google Apps
Communicating with colleagues, clients and other agents is essential to every real estate professional. Google offers a package of simple and powerful tools that you can use to communicate and collaborate more effectively, for less.
Google Apps includes fully customized e-mail addresses with plenty of storage, instant messaging, sharable calendars, tools for sharing and collaborating on documents and spreadsheets, and even collaborative wikis.
What’s more, you can access these services and all of your information wherever you are — at your own desk, on other Internet-connected computers, and even while you’re on the road with your mobile device. Best of all, there’s no special hardware or software required, so you can be up and running with Google Apps with minimal hassles.
8. Create a Google profile
When you’ve created a business based on your name, you want to be easily discoverable. Creating a Google profile makes it easier for prospects and partners to find you because Google profile results appear at the bottom of U.S. name-query search pages.
Your profile can include photos, information about your real estate business, and ways for people to contact you. Turn on the "Send a message" feature, and anyone with a Google account can send you a message through your profile, without having your e-mail address revealed to them.
9. Create a YouTube channel to showcase your listings
Allow your listings to sell themselves and give homebuyers the ability to prescreen potential homes before they contact you by creating a YouTube channel. YouTube actually reaches the specific audiences you are looking to reach: real estate buyers and sellers.
Did you know that YouTube viewers are 90 percent more likely to obtain information about real estate online than the average American?
Google sure has come a long way!
This is a great video I found a few days ago — a two-minute look back over the last 11 years of Google: "The Google Story." (Can’t view the video? Click here.) I wonder what is next for this super-search giant!
Katie Lance is the marketing manager for Inman News. Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.