In the hopeful-timing department -- the real estate market traditionally busts open in the spring -- Zillow.com has launched the Zillow Android App, delivering data on 95 million U.S. properties literally into the palms of cell-phone users' hands.
Capitalizing on the success of the Zillow iPhone App, which posted almost 1 million downloads over the last 10 months, according to Zillow, the free Android application offers similar features to that system, plus new ones unique to this app.
"It's clear that people want access to all of Zillow's data and information ... while they're out looking at homes or exploring neighborhoods," said Spencer Rascoff, Zillow's chief executive. The company sees the application as a chance "to be on a platform with enormous potential for real estate and home shopping."
Zillow, for the uninitiated, is an online real estate service where sellers, buyers, owners and agents share information about the market. When it launched in 2006, you couldn't walk through an office cubicle without catching curious homeowners perusing the Web site to get a Zillow "Zestimate" of their home's value (which wasn't always accurate, to put it kindly).
The Zillow Android App, which can be downloaded at no cost, still offers Zestimate home values; details and historical data on 95 million U.S. homes; curbside images of properties via Google Street View; and photos and contact information on homes listed for sale or rent. The service also filters home searches by sale price, rental price, number of bedrooms and baths and listing type. A voice search helps users find homes and neighborhoods by address or city.
The app also allows shoppers to check out homes virtually as they walk or drive through a neighborhood with the app's GPS system.
A blogger, "M.A.," reacting to news of the Android App at the company's Web site, posted his displeasure that Zillow has thus far ignored the BlackBerry market: "Wow, so it's like that, huh? BlackBerry owners have asked you for a BB Zillow app for -- what -- over a year now, since you released the iPhone app . . . Disappointing, to say the least." Well, dude, one operating system at a time.
The big question now is, when will an app get buyers home loans? That would be something to really crow about.
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