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Google Maps Helps Trulia Put Some Heart into Home Buying

Posted by Jeff McConathy, VP Engineering at Trulia

Editor's note: Our guest blogger is Jeff McConathy, Vice President of Engineering, Consumer Services, at Trulia, a San Francisco-based company that gives home buyers, sellers, owners and renters the inside scoop on properties, places and real estate professionals. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

There is an old saying in real estate: it’s all about location, location, location. With this in mind, it’s natural that maps are key to the success of any real estate business. They’re the first real guidepost that homebuyers look at when searching for a new home. At Trulia, we want our maps to do more. Maps are the canvas that let us tell the story of every property on our site – not just where it is, but what the neighborhood is like, how safe it is, the quality of the schools, how long it takes to commute to work and more. By using the Google Maps API for Business, we’re able to connect bits of data with home listings to give the 31.4 million people who visit Trulia each month a complete picture of a potential new home before they ever step inside it.

Google Maps API is core to Trulia’s user experience. It’s the common interface that lets homebuyers search for and browse through properties, explore neighborhoods, and jumpstart their home buying process. We’ve been working with Google since 2005, after we gave both Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth a trial run. Google Maps proved to be the easiest to customize and had the best functionality. Since then, our partnership has grown seamlessly – Google constantly adds new features to the API and we update our maps weekly.

Google Maps let us visualize data in a context that’s important to homebuyers. Instead of a list of crime statistics, we can create a color-coded heat map where our users can look around the city or town they’re exploring and compare neighborhoods, or even streets that are close to each other. We can present home buyers, sellers, and renters data about schools, public transit, nightlife, environmental and natural disaster risks, property valuations, and sales trends.

Google Maps also lets Trulia run efficiently on all mobile platforms. In addition to our mobile site, we have 14 different apps for homebuyers, agents, renters, mortgage representatives and more, with over 11 million mobile users each month. The Google Maps API ensures that we have full functionality across all of our apps, no matter the platform.

Trulia’s business is built on providing insights to consumers who are looking for the right place to live and then connecting them to a real estate professional. Google Maps adds color and life to that process by giving us a platform to tell a story about a particular neighborhood or property. It gives users clarity and simplicity in what can be an extremely complicated and confusing process, and that’s the absolute most valuable thing we can offer our users.