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LendingTree: Google To Compete On Loan Referrals

JOSHUA FREED

LendingTree, which allows prospective borrowers to get quick offers from multiple lenders, claims Google is about to get into the same business.

A LendingTree lawsuit against a separate technology provider claims that it has learned Google plans to launch such a service later this month or in early September. The lawsuit claims that LendingTree has received screen shots ¿ pictures of a computer screen ¿ showing a trial version of Google's service that indicate Google will give customers loan offers and contact information for lenders.

Google Inc. issued a written statement Wednesday saying it is "working on a small ad unit test" involving a limited number of mortgage-related searches.

"We have a number of experiments going on at any one time, but we don't speculate on future product development," the company said.

Google has made several moves that lead it away from its core business of selling ads alongside Internet search results. Last month it altered its popular Google Maps page to highlight its real estate search tools.

Other experiments have included an operating system for mobile devices, and Google Voice, which gives people an additional phone number that's not tied to any one phone line. Earlier this year it unveiled a PowerMeter that homeowners can use to track energy use.
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