07/08/09 12:16pm

A few new features now make it much easier to search for real estate listings directly from Google Maps. Although you can’t limit searches as neatly as you can with the map functions of some other real-estate sites — and the listings don’t come straight from MLS — Google doesn’t make you register for anything, and this map search isn’t so likely to crash your browser. The listings are integrated into the standard Google Maps interface, and links to the listings themselves are easily accessible.

You can start searching Houston listings simply by searching for “Houston real estate” on Google Maps. Click on the first result (“Real estate on Google Maps”) to see more listings, which appear as tiny dots on the map. Click on any of the dots to find more information about a particular property.

What’s most interesting about the new real estate features is how neatly they allow househunting to fit in with more everyday map activities. Real-estate obsessives, take note: Searching for listings no longer has to be such a deliberate act. Looking up directions to a friend’s house? You can scour listings along the route with just a few extra clicks. Wondering about the real estate action near one of the demos in Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report? You no longer have to navigate to a separate site to do that.

Here’s how to try it:


05/05/09 4:49pm

Okay, that guy with the lawnmower is just a little creepy, no?

Committed real-estate snoops, come out from behind your laptop screens. With Zillow’s new iPhone app, you can just pull out your device and lurk . . . in person! And . . . uh, it follows you!