Google launched their online mortgage comparison tool yesterday under the branding of Google Compare. Google previously had entered into the automotive insurance market with the Compare name, and is seeking to expand the service to new customers. This service was hinted at earlier this year and in particular when Google launched their mortgage calculator alongside search results. This service isn’t completely new however, as Google had previously launched a comparable service in the United Kingdom, though it’s their first major expansion with the Compare brand in the US.
The service is designed to be simple to use, yet provide accurate and useful results, much like Google’s Search. Google notes in their blog that almost “1 in 2 borrowers still don’t shop around for their mortgage”. It provides available options based on ZIP code, and the time you plan to split payments for the location. After inputting the necessary information, the tool will give a total cost with all fees and contact information for the lender. Reviews are displayed from other buyers, as well as rankings for lenders thanks to Zillow. This is similar to how the auto insurance system already worked. Thanks to their Alphabet restructuring, Google has had more time to focus on other projects, as previous companies under the Google umbrella have become separate entities.
Google appears to be using another company’s database for the information; Zillow, a company that that hosts a database of information for potential home buyers. The mortgage calculator tool will use both Zillow’s mortgage lender database. LendingTree is also a launch partner for the mortgage brokerage, assisting with the financial aspects of buying the home. LendingTree is an online lending exchange based in North Carolina. The new service is marketed towards other companies with a CPL (cost-per-lead) model. The CPL model is an advertising model, something Google is very familiar with, and the advertiser pays the referrer by the number of quality leads being sent their way. However, Google hasn’t placed any restrictions on who can and can’t use the service.
As with other Google services, the primary focus seems to be giving consumers useful products while making those products to use. Yet, even so, with Google’s Android currently facing anti-trust scrutiny in several countries around the world, including the US, continued expansion into more markets is certain to raise eyebrows, particularly if these services are going to be combined into Android proper. Google is currently a licensed broker only in California, however it plans to expand the brokerage services to more states soon.