Extate is quietly developing a great property service
There are a rash of new competitors in the UK property search space, looking to offer consumers a better experience than the existing portals like Rightmove.
The most interesting seems to be Extate, primarily becuase of the quality of the customer experience in terms of freshness, accuracy, navigability and product innovation - in addition to the standard Google Maps mashup, they also make great use of RSS, Skype integration and are smart enough in their crawling to derive useful semantics like tags (ie. garden, fireplace, etc) and price per sq ft.
Extate are also interesting because the team comes staright out of Imperial and it greats to see young entrepreneurs starting businesses in London straight out of college - it's about time :)
One good example of how their serach knocks the socks off the competition is their ability to allow you to search by street.
Click on the images below to try searching for "Englands Lane, first on Extate:
and on Rightmove - the incumbent 800 pound gorilla - nothing....
and on Nestoria - a new player in the UK, a copy and paste of Trulia in the US - nothing....
Extate has a long way to go in developing their business, but they have one thing really going for them right now -- a great product and a clar desire to innovate rather than copy and paste.