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According to the New York Times, Google has 160 engineers working on an initiative called Project Magi after learning that smartphone maker Samsung was considering replacing Google search with Microsoft Bing as the default search engine on its handsets.

The report said this caused “panic” at Google as it may lead to a $3 billion hit to its revenue.

Project Magi is a stepping stone towards a new search engine that Google plans to release, which will eventually replace the current version of Google. Although there isn’t an abundance of information available about this new search engine, we do have some insights into Project Magi.

In this article, we’ll explore how this project could impact real estate agents as well as the very real threat to the major property portals.

What is Project Magi?

Project Magi is Google’s response to increasing competition, particularly from companies like OpenAI (Chat GPT) and their partnership with Microsoft, which is making significant advancements in the adoption of AI tools by the general public. This competition has pushed Google to innovate and develop new AI features for its search engine, ensuring that it remains a dominant force in the market.

Google’s Project Magi aims to incorporate more AI features into its search engine to stay ahead of its competitors. By making search more conversational and adaptive, Google hopes to continue providing users with the most relevant and personalised results possible. This will not only help maintain Google’s market leadership but also create a better search experience for users, including real estate agents in Australia who rely on search engines to find potential clients and generate leads.

A chat-like interface for enhanced user experience

Google aims to make search more conversational, similar to asking questions and receiving answers from a human or AI assistant like ChatGPT. This new interface would resemble interacting with Alexa but would be even smarter and more adaptable, learning from users’ past conversations and providing relevant answers.

This new approach to search is designed to offer users tailored results, moving away from the traditional method of displaying ten results per page. It builds upon Google’s previous advancements, such as the knowledge graph.

Facilitating transactions on Google

One significant change with Project Magi is Google’s ability to facilitate transactions directly on its platform. Whether it’s purchasing a pair of shoes or booking a flight, Google aims to handle these transactions without users needing to visit other websites.

This feature would be seamlessly integrated with Google Pay, allowing users to make purchases with just a few clicks.

Implications for agents and marketing teams

While Google will continue to display ads as a source of revenue, the way ads function is likely to change. It is speculated that Google will eventually shift to a cost-per-acquisition model, simplifying the process for marketers and improving user experience.

One suggestion on how Google search might change is to become more like social networks, where you have a feed mixed in with ads – instead of how Google search currently works with search results sandwiched between ads at the top and bottom.

Given Google’s focus on making search results a place to transact and compare products, another possible change could be that we’ll finally see real estate listings appear directly within search result pages and the ability to filter search results by property type, attributes and price etc. This could put the major portals in a tricky situation, as a change like this could provide well-optimised real estate agency websites a chance to compete for local real estate searches for (for example) “Houses for sale near me” or perhaps the ability to advertise properties on Google itself – effectively Google becomes a property portal itself. Now wouldn’t this make things interesting!?

The introduction of Project Magi will lead to a new form of SEO, where optimising your website to have your products and services displayed within Google’s search results becomes crucial.

As a real estate agent, what truly matters is securing sales. If Google’s new search engine helps you achieve that, it’s still a win. With these upcoming changes, it’s essential to stay informed and adapt your marketing strategies accordingly.

But one thing is certain, Google still remains laser-focused on delivering the best search result to the end user. So real estate businesses with a physical address in close proximity to the searcher, who have also spent the time to optimise their presence on Google (including collecting and responding to Google reviews) and are remaining aware of these potentially massive changes, will always win the game of attention online.

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