Talking about real estate search

This morning I had a talk with a real estate website.

Ok. It wasn’t exactly a heady discourse, but it was pretty neat nonetheless:

Earlier this year, I had written a post wondering which portal would implement speech recognition first. Trulia seems to have won the race.

The voice recognition is pretty rudimentary really but overall fairly accurate. I could trip it up if I wanted to, but if I spoke clearly Trulia reliably returned the location I was looking for.

It began to feel pretty natural after a few minutes of testing. Far quicker and faster than typing. And as I used it more, I actually began to feel myself getting frustrated by its limitations too. This was a good thing.

I wanted to execute my whole search by speech – not just the location.

Look who’s talking

I get the limitations around speech – busy offices, noisy environments, etc. But for many simple searches conducted at home it’s perfectly acceptable. (I did, however, get a few sideways glances from my wife as I was talking to my computer.)

In fact, I might go as far as to say that once you get used to it, it begins to feel like a better way to conduct this type of query. “Real life” home search is all about asking questions, so services like Apple’s Siri and Trulia’s voice search may, in time, become the norm, not the exception.

It all reminds me of this scene from Star Trek IV – a classic, but perhaps just a little clairvoyant too: