Rightmove has done a deal with Google maps, ahead of Google's own launch into the UK property online market.
The deal, announced yesterday with immediate effect, takes the property internet to a new level, with the two huge players now literally on the same page.
The deal also ends speculation as to whether Rightmove would co-operate with Google on a 'if you can't beat them, join them' basis. As a result of the deal, Rightmove becomes one of the largest users of Google maps in Europe.
From yesterday, Rightmove properties are now placed on a Google map on each 'detailed view' page.
However, the application will be expanded over the next month so home-hunters will be able to see initial search results plotted out within their search area – just as they will be able to do on the Google property mapping service.
Google's own offering, expected to launch in the UK in the first quarter of this year, is likely to be a search engine based on its maps. Property searchers would then be diverted to the agent's own website in order to see property details. The facility would be free for agents.
The Rightmove deal appears to try to head off this potential threat, relying on its own brand for property searchers, who would not only see the mapping but also the details of several properties – all on one site, as Rightmove does not divert to agents' own websites.
Rightmove has been running a new TV ad campaign and attracted over 1m visits in a single day for the first time this Monday.
A Rightmove spokesman told Estate Agent Today: "Google are about to launch their own UK real estate offering, which will be based on maps. Rightmove can now offer something quite similar.
"However, we have two very different business models: Google is a search engine, and users will click through on each property to the agent's own website. On Rightmove, users can see everything they want, all in the same place – not just the location, but the complete property details.
"We also liked the Google maps because they are the best maps around. They're clear and easy to view."
Sanjay Patel, of Google Enterprise, said: "With this technology on their site, Rightmove will be able to provide property searchers with a faster, more accurate and more comprehensive mapping system to help them find that perfect home even more efficiently."