Realtor.com is coming out with a pair of new features for its Android mobile app that use image recognition and augmented reality to give people more information about homes on the market and surrounding neighborhoods.
These features, called Sign Snap and Street Peek, up the ante in the competition to be the go-to site for real estate information, where Realtor is battling against a variety of companies, including Seattle’s Zillow.
Sign Snap lets prospective buyers get key information about a house — specs, photos, price, agent contact information etc. — by taking a picture of the for-rent or for-sale sign. That allows people walking or driving by to access information about the house on the spot, rather than just hoping they remember to look it up when they got home. Sign Snap uses image recognition technology, as well as smartphone cameras, GPS capabilities and Google Cloud Vision API and searches the Realtor.com database to find the information.
Street Peek turns a smartphone into an augmented reality device with the ability to show statistics for an entire neighborhood. Pointing a smartphone camera at a house, or multiple houses on the block, brings up an overlay with information from the Realtor database such as the listing or rental price for variously houses, recently sold prices, estimated values, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in each house. Users can also access a map of the neighborhood and get more information on specific houses. Street Peek also lets users filter by property type and go back through their history of street photos and listings.
“In a market where actionable information can make all the difference between landing the home of your dreams or losing it, we are empowering consumers with quick and accessible property information in the palm of their hands,” said Nate Johnson, chief marketing officer at Realtor.com.
Realtor is operated by Move Inc., which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. It has a license to operate from the National Association of Realtors. Last year competitor Zillow settled a high-profile lawsuit brought by Move and the National Association of Realtors over Zillow’s hiring of two former Move execs, Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley. Zillow paid $130 million to settle the case, which once threatened to cost Zillow more than $2 billion in damages.
Sign Snap is available starting today, and Street Peek as well as several new features will be available in the spring. For now, the features will only be available on the Realtor app for Android, with iOS to follow.