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Real estate site Zillow is following the success of its iPhone application today with a shiny new version for Android that will provide users with housing price data and more right on their phones. Making the case for its mobile presence, the company also announced that its iPhone app has passed the 1 million downloads mark, with users viewing 2 million homes every month.
When Zillow first came to the iPhone in April last year, it had 88 million U.S. homes in its database — now it has information, including price, floorplans, and special features, for more than 95 million. Its service is especially well suited to mobile platforms, because it can use GPS to determine where you are, so that it can display data for houses nearby. You can literally drive down the street and have property values pop up for different houses as you move toward them.
Android has some special features of its own baked in, including voice-command search, photos of what homes look like from the curb drawn from Google Street View, multiple photos of what many houses look like inside, and the ability to call the relevant real estate agents with one click. Prospective home buyers can also sort search results based on price, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, etc. The app is available for free in the Android Marketplace.
When Zillow first launched into the mobile space, it was relatively unique, though its biggest rival, Trulia, had already developed its own application for the iPhone. Zillow may have beaten it to the punch on Android, but now it has a lot of other competitors to contend with, including real estate brokers themselves. Coldwell Banker, the Corcoran Group and Redfin have all launched home-search and pricing apps of their own. And other web real estate companies like Smarter Agent and Realtor.com have done the same.
With a name like Coldwell Banker, you wouldn’t assume a great deal of tech savvy, but the firm’s app was actually running on both iPhone and Android first — proving that traditional brands can keep up with nimble startups where it counts.
Zillow has raised $87 million in capital to date and is backed by Benchmark Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures, and PAR Capital Management, among others. Based in Seattle, the company had to lay off 40 employees when the economy took a dive in fall 2008, but it seems to be rebounding nicely since.
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