It was a big week in technology. And that, increasingly, means it was a big week in real estate. I say that because it is clear to me that the arc of online innovation is bending towards our industry.
Mobile. Local. Social.
It’s where everything on the Web is headed; it’s where real estate has always been. What an opportunity!
Here’s what I’m talking about: All of these things happened this week:
Google buys Aardvark. Aardvark laces together your social graph (largely through Facebook Connect, which is interesting in itself considering Google’s jittery relationship with Facebook) into a decision support network. Got a question? Looking for something? Let a qualified human being who you know answer it or find it for you. That’s the basic idea. If Google takes this acquisition seriously, search is going to get a lot more human. Do you know an industry where expertise is traded in the market of social connections?
Bing maps and Google maps integrate Flickr. The Google Maps API was a foundational component of online real estate’s second wave of innovation. Now you can mix all its power with Flickr, the flexible and powerful photo sharing service. Think about this: You’re looking at a street view photo a house; layered on top of that view is a photo or photos showing you interior shots. Or, say you want to display a photo guide to a neighborhood on your site. Super easy, super cool. This makes me think of an idea I had a couple years ago, Zulia.
ZipRealty and Corcoran add local/social mojo to their iPhone apps. Zip joined Trulia in integrating Augmented Reality into their iPhone app. You can get an overview here. Users can now stroll neighborhoods with real estate colored goggles! Corcoran, moving with remarkable speed, now allows users to check-in to Foursquare directly from their app. The integration itself is superficial, but it’s an important indicator of what’s to come.
SquarePik mashes up check-ins with media. The combination of location and media – especially photos and video – holds all kinds of possibilities for real estate. Like the Flickr/maps integration, an app like SquarePik moves us toward a more integrated search and discovery experience. Pegshot, an iPhone app created by the team behind WellComeMat, is in the same vein.
FWIX releases local news API. FWIX is a service that allows you to locate, slice, dice and display hyperlocal news. It’s akin to Outside.in for Publishers. It is now very easy for a publisher (e.g., a real estate brokerage) to provide news, blogs and other media tied very tightly to place. I have long believed that online real estate’s final frontier is the neighborhood. The technology the adventurous will need to conquer it is pretty much here at this point.
I could list a half dozen more (Including Google Buzz) but I’ve got to get back to work!