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Google Base listings another first for Harcourts

Google Base listings another IT first for Harcourts

13 June 2008 - Harcourts' ongoing leadership in the real estate sector has been further reinforced this week with another industry-first for the group following an agreement with Google allowing Harcourts' property listings to be included in its latest online initiative, Google Base.

Harcourts Head of Technology Jason Wills believes Harcourts is the first real estate group in Australasia to provide its clients properties' with automatic exposure across all of Google search websites, including the new Google Base site the company has under development.

"According to comScore, over 56% of all Internet searches on 'real estate' and related terms are conducted on Google and their partner sites," Mr Wills says. "So it's vital Harcourts is up at the forefront with Google's new initiatives, given their sites are such a key source of enquiries."

As Google has previously stated, Google Base (see www.google.co.nz/base) is an extension of the company's existing content collection efforts like web crawl, Google Sitemaps, Google Print and Google Video. Also free, it offers a new way for people to submit their content to Google and to make it searchable online, with users able to upload their content to the Google Base database and then to assign it various "attributes" which will drive that content's inclusion in search engine results.

"Harcourts property listings are being uploaded into the 'Housing' category," Mr Wills explains. "Users who search that category via Google Base can refine their search results by selecting from various attributes such as location and bedroom number and then they see details on the relevant properties and their location on an adjoining map so all the information they need is there in one place."

Mr Wills says that while Google Base is still under development Harcourts has opted to get onboard because is it committed to ensuring its clients' properties have maximum exposure and potential buyers searching online have every available option to find Harcourts' property listings.

"Google Maps has definitely proven to be a successful addition to our online offering and in time we expect Google Base will be an increasingly popular tool too, particularly when it's further integrated into the main Google search engine," Mr Wills says.

For decades Harcourts has prided itself as an industry ground-breaker in real estate technology. In 1996 it was the first real estate group in New Zealand to launch a website, which it has enhanced numerous times including through the integration of Google Maps which it was an early adopter of. In 2006 it also launched what is believed to have been the first real estate office in "Second Life".

"We see our investment in real estate technology as imperative to provide the public and our team with the best tools possible to ensure their real estate experience is productive and successful."


ENDS

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