My good friend Ed Kohler from technology evangelist (great blog) was kind enough to send me this great article (Hooked On Google). It's a fantastic short read about the mojo Google has working on Microsoft! Maybe this is why some of the better Real Estate Map Mashups like ColoradoHomeStop have picked the Google map API and not Microsoft's virtual earth. It also validates the direction the real estate industry is heading.
So let's really read these words; ``The past few years have taught us that business models based on controlling consumers or content don't work,'' Schmidt wrote. This is Google's head dude saying they have made their huge gains, despite the money and efforts of Microsoft by giving people what they want...for free. So who's this guy, Eric E.Schmidt,Ph.D, Google's Chief Executive Officer. (one really smart person) We should heed the advice learned from the people controlling of 800,000,000 eyeballs!
So, what he is saying is that companies like Microsoft, who license (controlling consumers) software to people are doomed to be taken down by the likes of Google who will give it away for free. Thus, it makes perfect sense that groups or associations like say, Realtors, that control real estate content are also doomed to be taken down by the likes of Google or Zillow or some other outside WEB 2.0 super app!
The Google business model of acquiring best of breed apps and throwing them on to the Google dash board tool box is pure Genius! Everything starts from Google...they control the desktop and they control search. They know that Microsoft's Achilles heel is licensed software applications...so they give them out for free! Entire applications such as gmail,docs and spreadsheets, google calendar, goggle photo sharing, google vidieo,google checkout, google personalized web page, for marketing google adsense and the newest angle to your desktop books.google. (remember most information is NOT ON THE NET, it's in libraries throughout the world) Google has now scanned 1m books!
``Google is the next Microsoft because Microsoft is the next IBM,'' said Stephen Arnold, a technology consultant and author of ``The Google Legacy.'' ``Just as Microsoft superseded IBM, Google is superseding Microsoft.''
A true statement, already well under way. Ya gotta wonder who the next Move/Realtor.com will be? You say "no way", I say "when". Move/Realtor.com is spending millions (our millions) letting people know that the Realtor Brand is professional and ethical enough to justify that 3% to 6% on that next transaction. I don't know about you, but in 22 years and 2000 transactions, no one ever asked or cared that I was a Realtor. Move/Realtor.com has 1800 employees and one giant payroll! While they still have 92% of the Realtor content, they should be engineering a way to get consumers ALL THE DATA within a killer user interface. But that would be too easy!
Let's look at the other side of the river. Zillow has 150 engineers and spends 2m a month engineering a new transparent Real Estate Web Portal for brokers and consumers providing as much data as they can eat. Zillow announced at Inman Connect in NY that their new EZAds, are rolling in March 2007. These ads will be geo targeted by zip code, for brokers to advertise to the site's growing eyeballs. Some MLS systems should take note..Zillow offers unlimited uploads of High Resolution photos and Virtual tours. Imagine that!
There's no doubt that Google is the real starting point for any and all Real Estate Search and services. In fact, its the start for pretty much any business or service. I mean the iPhone’s Safari web browser also includes built-in Google Search...it's now a STANDARD of web search coolness! Microsoft's Windows live has gone nowhere fast. Here's something to think about. Zillow could be another Best of Breed acquisition by Google. Hmmm.
The following is from the concluding paragraph of Mike Long's comments to Move/Realtor.com, NAR Board of Directors. The long and short of the rant was about third party invasion of the industry.
This is an enormous issue for our industry. How the industry's content will be managed going forward is being decided now. Will it be an organized decision, based on careful consideration or will it be driven by expediency, short term considerations, industry ambivalence or even outsiders? I have enjoyed the conversation and debate we have had this week about these and other issues. Move wishes to be part of the solution. We will gladly support with all our resources a group of industry thought leaders charged with addressing this issue. We have unabashedly committed ourselves to being supporters of REALTORS®, their value proposition and the REALTOR® way of life. Allan Dalton and I and the entire Move/REALTOR.com® team look forward to continuing to earn your confidence and support.
Here's what Mike and the gang at NAR need to understand. Google’s stated mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. (Period)
I don't really know what he means by the term "Realtor Way of life"...but I do know that I agree with Schmidt, "business models based on controlling consumers or content don't work" This is also true for all local MLS systems with all their controlling business practices. I think the "Realtor way of life" is suffering from the same problems that Microsoft is having with Google...lack of vision, lack of inspired leadership and not enough smart people from the outside.