Posts tagged Google

Photosphere and Hyperlapse – Two Interesting Tools

Google have released a new tool that further enables users (us) to help them map the world. Photosphere was just released for the iPhone (it’s been available on Android for a while) and it’s quite remarkable. I’m not sure just how useful it is, but it’s mighty interesting. Photosphere will certainly help me detail for my out of town/country clients, but I don’t know if it’s any better than video, despite the higher resolution.

Curious? This is a photosphere I took of the new Lochlyn Hill neighborhood, currently under construction.

Hyperlapse by Instagram/Facebook is different, exciting – and differently useful. In comparison to the static, 360º images provided by the Photosphere app, Hyperlapse has been described as “a $15,000 Video Setup in Your Hand.” I see great potential for Hyperlapse for telling stories – the stories that make a city, an area, a neighborhood, a street – compelling.

Interesting times, and with the new iPhones being released with seemingly infinitely more powerful processors, I think we’ll be seeing an a lot more Hyperlapses and Photospheres.



An example – Downtown Crozet is in the midst of Streetscaping right now …

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I Won’t Know What You’re Thinking Anymore

I won’t know what you (the readers) are thinking anymore – and that sucks. Google’s not sharing keyword information with site owners anymore … and this is huge.

For years I’ve looked at the keywords that have brought visitors to RealCrozetVA and RealCentralVA to discern what questions to answer and what was trending in the minds of my readers and visitors.

I know my business cycles as the keywords shift from “buyers agent in Charlottesville” to “fall foliage in Charlottesville” and “Is Charlottesville the inspiration for Who-ville” (no) and “buying a home in Charlottesville in spring.”

Google’s changing all that. I wondered about this a few weeks ago, but this week brings confirmation.

It appears that Google has cut off keyword data altogether.… This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners.

If you’re interested in reading a bit more, Moz has a useful post.

What this means is that I (and other site owners) need to accept not knowing search keywords anymore. Such is life.

So … I won’t know what questions you’re asking anymore unless you actively ask me (you know – send me a message or call or text me – 434-242-7140).

Recent Keyword Activity - Central VA Real Estate News - StatCounter.jpg

While keyword stuffing in an attempt to game Google has been common practice by many (not just in the real estate writing space) for years, I’ve done that only a handful of times – and have stated my intentions every time.

Ultimately, as I don’t have my own Building 43 filled with people smarter than the Googlers, I’m going to keep trying to write about stuff that interests me, answers questions about the Charlottesville real estate market, growth, politics, etc and will continue to try to answer my clients’ questions.

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Zillow + Google = Amazing Times Ahead

Google Now + Zillow. Big times ahead …

Almost every buyer with whom I work checks Zillow (and I have to tell them Z doesn’t have a direct MLS feed, so the data isn’t always accurate. They check zestimates in addition to property assessments because they’re looking for an objective valuation.

Almost every seller with whom I work checks their home’s zestimate to see how it measures up with their locality’s assessment and our market analysis. More often than not, the zestimate is wrong. But.

I feel like I was seeing the future in 2006 when I wrote this

Yet I have been wondering – what if Zillow’s reach becomes so great, their data become so vast and inclusive, that their Zestimates significantly impact what is fair market value? What if the purchasing and selling population refer to Zillow as the end-all, be-all estimator for their homes’ valuations? What if “close enough” is “good enough”? What if they become the de facto standard for home valuations?

And now this (pardon the pun):

Google Now gets you just the right information, before you even ask, and is the newest part of the Google Search app for devices running Android 4.1, Jelly Bean. If you’re in the market for a new home, Google Now can provide you with nearby real estate listings, powered by Zillow. Plus, while you’re attending an open house, Google Now will pull additional information about the home, including time on market, listing price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and year built.

If you haven’t used Google Now, you should. I have a Nexus 7 tablet and Google Now is sweet – intuitive, instinctive and always there.

Zillow may be on to something. From Forbes.

Gartner estimates that smartphones captured 44% of all mobile phone sales in the December 2012 quarter with Android smartphones taking 31% of all mobile phone shipments and iOS in second place at 9%. Android smartphones grew 88% year over year with iOS at 23%.

Android at times makes my iPhone 4S feel old.

Russ with Zillow said in 2011, in response to my challenging their advocating using zestimates in negotiations:

Additionally, I wanted to let you know we’ve removed language about using the Zestimate for negotiation. We really do want to be clear that it’s a starting point, and we could see how that confused the issue. Thanks for pointing that out.

We’re not to the point where zestimates replace market analyses – there are so many unzillowables that can’t be quantified by an algorithm – view, smells, neighbors, proximity to work, stuff, groceries, etc but the question that marginal real estate agents need to be asking themselves (that great ones have been asking themselves for years) is this:

Why should my client trust me more than Google/Zillow? (my answer to this question coming next week)

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Fewer Trees = Income Inequality


Income Inequality as Seen from Space

I’d love to post some photos here about some of the areas in Charlottesville that might match this hypothesis, but won’t so as not to potentially violate fair housing laws.

That said, I’d be curious to know what you might find.

If you’re looking, use Bing Maps rather than Google Maps; Bing is much, much better.

Update 18 July 2012: Mashable has a long story on tree density’s relation to income.

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