Ever since Google Maps launched in Australia in February 2007, we've been committed to adding more and more useful and up-to-date information to make it a truly valuable resource for Australians. From within Google Maps you can now search for a local plumber or chemist; get driving directions to a friend's place; check out the location of a restaurant before making a booking with Street View; view terrain and satellite data for a given area; and even plan travel using public transport in some cities in Australia.

And the pace of innovation around Google Maps hasn't slowed. We recently added Monorail and Light Rail transit information to Google Maps in Sydney; and introduced a pretty neat way of navigating around Street View images that has inspired some of our users to very cool creative endeavours.

Today we're adding a feature to Google Maps in Australia that we think will make Maps an even more invaluable resource to Aussies as they go about their busy lives. Increasingly, people are heading online when looking for a new house to rent or buy, and from today, we're adding the ability to search for properties on Google Maps. We've worked with partners across the real estate industry to provide up-to-date listings, which you can search for directly from the Google Maps search box.

You can check it out by entering a search like 'real estate crows nest' and clicking through to search real estate listings. A marker will appear on the map for every available listing, using our new search results feature, so you can get a really good idea of the distribution of the properties for sale or rent. This also means you can perform a search and see all the properties for sale close to, for example, a local school you're interested in your kids attending. You can click on each marker and each small circle to get more detailed information about the property, including the listing agent's website and contact details.

It's also easy to refine your search further by criteria like bedrooms, bathrooms, garaging and price. And if you decide that Seaforth is more your speed, you can pan the map to another area entirely to see the listings there, and the map will automatically update, without typing anything new.

This isn't the only resource available for your new home search. You can use Street View on Google Maps to check out the neighbourhood before driving to an open home; use driving directions to find out exactly how to get there; and transit information to work out what your new commute might be if you went ahead and moved house.

Check out the video below for more information on how we're making it easy to find real estate listings on Google Maps in Australia. It's part of our commitment to bringing the most useful and relevant information to Google Maps users in Australia, and we'll keep working on this to make it even more useful over time.