Searching for a home? Try Craigslist + Google Maps
Check out this site, which merges Craiglist's housing listings and Google Maps. Wow, we thought when we first saw it last Friday, wouldn't this be great for independent sellers of homes who want to bypass the agents, and for buyers, who can now do virtual tours of homes that are located only 25 miles from work, etc? We're not sure if agents will like this, which is why author Paul Rademacher might have a tough time getting permission to use the MLS listings, or Realtor.com, which are run by realtors. Gotta say, though, one of us (Matt) recently bought a home through Craigslist, partly wanting to bypass the middleman, and liked the experience. We'd certainly go back to Rademacher's site next time, now that it makes the home shopping even easier.
We just checked in with Rademacher....
...who says the response to the site has been "tremendous" since it went up Friday. He posted a single message online looking for beta-testers, and his email "has been flooded with positive response," he says. What's more, Google and Craigslist are both "unofficially" happy with the site, he adds.
We'll let Rademacher tell it in his own words:
The idea for the project was of course my own experience looking for housing (here in the Bay Area), and the difficulty in sorting every day through new postings and figuring out where each property was. This is apparently a huge pain for others, as well."
I think beyond the new interface to housing search, people seem to also be excited by the notion of combining two good websites, especially two that are similar in their mission -- both Google and Craigslist provide free access to information, shunning ways of making money that might mislead or take advantage of the user. At least, this is how I interpreted the blogger who said my app was like "chocolate in [his] frickin peanut butter."
As for "what's next" from here, I'll be maintaining and improving the site, of course. It's a good start, but by no means the final word on what a housing search interface should be. Also, I'll be looking for other areas in which we've grown accustomed to plain-HTML web interfaces and disparate data sources. This is where I hope to connect with other like-minded Silicon-Valley'ers in the next few weeks. Housing was a great demo of the possibilities for next-generation web UIs over real live data, but I sense that it's just the beginning
So, what's a good name for this site? In the spirit of post-April Fools, we suggested "Craigooglist." Paul politely said he liked that, but had also seen people referring to it as CraigsMapsGoogleList, a tad long. He's keeping the existing URL for a few more days, until he has a better sense of the direction the site will go -- either more real estate features or other.