Google is an exceptional company in many respects and is the undisputed leader of Web 2.0.“? Up 36% over the past year, the stock has seen new record highs of $530 a share. In seven years since 1998, the company grew from nothing to a market capitalization of $165 billion. It is unbelievable that less than a decade ago it did not even exist. No other company has ever grown so fast.

With every new partner Google is securing more ad spots such as: The $1 billion deal with Dell to plant Google atop new Dell PC Screens; the $900 million deal with social networking leader; or the deal with EBay to supply ads on all their international auction sites.Google is in many respects the embodiment of Web 2.0.

In March 2006 an article in Business Week stated that the Internet, with Google as its leader, is mutating into a radically different beast.“? It is being driven by ubiquitous broadband, cheap hardware and open-source software

For example, Google Base (launched in 2005) is no longer just a search site it’s more like a destination site. The difference is quite significant and the results are remarkable. Search engines are designed to quickly move consumers through them to someone else’s destination site.“? Destination sites are designed to keep consumers captive as long as possible, hence more sales time and/or advertising revenue.“? With its powerful search capability it has been suggested that Google Base may automatically develop into a destination site for every major industry category.

Google Earth was also launched in 2005 and it exploded into the mainstream during 2006 on websites, PDAs and cell-phones. Based on Keyhole technology, Google Earth enables users to fly from space to street level views to find geographic information and explore places around the world.

This past week Google launched a new initiative, Google Earth Outreach, to help nonprofit organizations communicate and present data using Google Earth. The intention is to provide information including help documents, video tutorials, and case studies that describe how to create Keyhole Markup Language layers for Google Earth. Google Earth is clearly a huge hit and since it debuted two years ago this month it has been downloaded more than 200 million times.

In my recent Trends Report I detail how Google has also on the real estate front become an important component of the savvy real estate professionals’ arsenal. Show up high with the right search terms and suddenly the number of eye-balls to your site increases dramatically. So a new world of blogging, RSS feeds, deep searching, organic listing, keywords, pay-per-clicks, sponsored links, banner ads, search engine optimization and lead generation have all become part of every day Google speak.

Expect an increasing proliferation of online listing information, more transparency and simplification of the real estate transaction, a continuing shift of ad spending to the online medium and a further convergence of real estate related technologies through mashups and partnerships.

So if we all agree that Google is great, technology tremendous and the Internet incredible – let me leave you with a thought to ponder.

Is technology empowering the real estate agent to provide a better, more professional service, or is it empowering the seller to significantly reduce or maybe even remove the role of the listing agent in the normal home buying transaction?

What are your thoughts?

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