I was reading an article this morning in the Globe and Mail newspaper that there are a few companies in Canada that want to be able to publish real estate listings and charge a lower brokerage fee to gain business. Currently, the Canadian Real Estate Association's website is really the only source for all of the listings of new homes (http://www.mls.ca). This site also advertises for the use of real estate brokers as well as helping you find one. Is it a great site? As websites go, no. But it has a tonne of information, and more importantly, I know by going there I am going to see the listing of every single house that is up for sale in my area and others.
With much of the information that we want to digest going digital, the fight for information on the web is going to be a huge one. Do you think there is such a thing as too many sources of information? I think there might be. Imagine a situation where you now have to go to three different websites to see all of the listings in your area, and then more competitors pop up, so the listings get spread over more websites. Is that easier for the customer? The next logical step is that some company comes in and realizes that there is value in aggregating the information to create one source of information. Interesting progression of events, yes? Start with one source, end with one source.
I am picking on the real estate industry in Canada, but it could be anything, shopping sites, finding a good contractor–whatever. The point being–at what point is too much? There is so much information that sometimes one does not know where to start. Fortunately for companies like Google, the more information sites out there, the more valuable a service like Google becomes. We all inherently want to take the shortest route possible to getting the information we need, so how will that play out in the future? It will be interesting to see.