Food for thought from the past week

10:30 a.m. on Wednesday and I have just now returned my inbox and reader to some sense of order after the Inman conference last week.

Here are some things I came across in that process that got me thinking:

  • Yellowbird, a start-up based in the Netherlands, launched something that approximates Google Street View done with video cameras. The company was covered by Techcrunch last week and received so much traffic that they had to take down their demo. But the site gives you a sense for what’s coming, and what’s coming is pretty mind-blowing. It’s stuff like this and nascent “augmented reality” technologies like Layar and Wikitude that make me certain we are far from done with online real estate search innovation.
  • In the same vein, Directed Edge, a start-up that provides a recommendation engine for e-commerce and media sites, launched last week. We see a lot or “similar properties” or IP-targeted featured property displays in online real estate. They are of dubious utility. Directed Edge, or something like it, may improve upon them. Or how about marrying smarter recommendation with something like Aardvark, which leverages your social graph to help you make decisions? The possibilities are still hazy at the moment, but that’s going to change.
  • Searching images in Flikr went from frustrating to pretty damn good. I have felt for a while now that Flikr is grossly underappreciated and underutilized in online real estate for a myriad of purposes ranging from listing enhancement to neighborhood search.
  • ReadWriteWeb reported on TweetMart, which suggests and alternative, more minimalist future for online real estate search. TweetMart is an online classifieds site powered entirely by, as the name suggests, Tweets. Look past the site’s roughness for a minute and consider whether this sort of thing may, in the atomizing media environment that’s unfolding, supplant big online real estate destinations.