Realtor.com is one of the most used sites on the net and now it's added some augmented reality (AR) features to help make the process of looking at buying a home – or just being very bored and curious about homes – even easier. There are actually two new features being added to the Realtor.com Android app. The first is available now and is called "Sign Snap." The second feature is called "Street Peek" and it falls right in line with expectations for AR use-cases this year. As much as virtual reality has been finding its way into news around the tech industry and across others, it is nice to see some good old-fashioned augmented reality finding its way into the real world.
Though possibly the less intriguing of the two new features, Sign Snap allows users to gain access to the information and interior pictures available for homes that exist within Realtor.com's database – all without having to search the database yourself. All a user needs to do is align their camera with the "for sale" sign on the property in question and snap a picture of it. The app will use the image and GPS to conduct a search of the database and give the user all of the relevant data on the property – the same data that would have been found if the user had searched and found the property themselves. That's not necessarily what most people think when they hear "augmented reality," but the other feature – coming to the Realtor.com application this Spring – should fit the bill for most people. Street Peek is similar to Sign Snap, supplying slightly less information with less inconvenience to the user. In the case of Street Peek, all the user needs to do is point their camera at the home to glance key details such as price or the number of rooms and bathrooms. Taking things a bit further, the app will group and show nearby properties simply by tilting the camera around after the initial scan.
It is promising that AR is being implemented in areas where it can be genuinely useful. Common uses for AR in mobile have previously seemed to mostly focus on gaming. In this case, the convenience of not needing to have a representative or open house to go out and peruse local options is a definite step forward for the industry.