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Top 10 ways Google Glass could affect real estate

Google Glass is about to go mainstream, and there are hidden advantages of what is more than just a novel tool.

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Google Glass is coming at 100 mph

In 2014, it is said that Google Glass stores will begin popping up and it will no longer be tester geeks roaming the streets with computers on their eyes, no, they are about to go mainstream in a big way, leaving various industries considering how this technology will impact their own practice.

Jessi Hall is a former real estate broker and investment property manager, currently writing about real estate, VA loans and homeownership for Veterans United Home Loans. She offers that that the real estate industry will be tremendously impacted by Google Glass, in fact, changes are already taking place right now. In Hall’s words:

1. Take and share listing photos more easily.

I’ll make a radical statement: Once you share a photo via Google Glass, you’ll never bother waking up your smartphone to snap a pic again. As Google Glass Explorer Sarah Hill has pointed out, it takes more than a dozen clicks to share an image though your smartphone.

With Glass, it’s just a couple of temple clicks.

That simplicity is addictive. Plus, Google Glass photo quality is top-notch (and continues to get better with regular updates). Good photos? Quick photos? Fast sharing to all social media platforms? What more could a listing agent want?

2. Live virtual tours.

If you thought photo sharing was easy through Glass, try live video. Invite a long-distance client to tour a new property through a Google Hangout, the company’s live video tool.

Yes, smart alecks, you CAN conduct a Hangout through your smartphone. But as real estate agents like Melissa Marro mentioned during this recent Google Glass and real estate Hangout, video taken through Glass “gives people a more realistic perspective of a home.”

Think of it this way: Glass is worn over the user’s brow. That one simple characteristic gives viewers a more accurate perspective than a smartphone being waved around the room.

Plus, Google Glass enables hands-free video. Agents can now open a closet door or flick on a light switch at a client’s request without stopping to put down the phone. It’s a seemingly insignificant perk, but agents who experience the ease of Glass simply can’t work any other way.

3. Live contract assistance.

Need to guide your long-distance buyer or seller through a contract or disclosure form? Grab Glass and start a Hangout. Flip through the contract, zoom in on particular sections and answer any questions along the way.

4. Find local services.

Showing property in an unfamiliar neighborhood? One voice command to Glass puts a wealth of local information at your eyeball.

Upon hearing the voice command: “Google restaurants near me”, Glass returns a local map marked with every sushi spot, coffee shop and sandwich counter in the area. The command works with practically any type of service or business, including schools, senior centers, parks or shopping centers.

5. Easy video chats with other housing professionals.

In the hands of other real estate professionals, Google Glass could be a godsend. A home inspector with Google Glass could clamber up a ladder and explain to a buyer via Hangout why roof replacement is critical. A contractor could crawl along the foundation to point out potential leak sources.

Real estate agent and Google Glass explorer Alex Mosquera had the same thought when selling a short sale in need of repair. He recently lent Glass to a contractor so the lien-holder could understand the extent of the damage.

“The contractor explained the scope of the problem via Glass,” Mosquera said. “That way the lien-holder could see first-hand why the repairs were needed.”

6. Safety.

Real estate agents are already theorizing about the potential for a Google Glass safety app. “I see having an app where I can say ‘track me’,” said agent and software developer Chad LaFarge. “As I walk into a house, I have a gesture I can do that throws an alarm. That would either send a message to my broker or phone E911, and it marks my GPS coordinates every 30 seconds.”

It’s the perfect time for a new safety mechanism. The number of nonfatal assaults continues to increase in the real estate, rental and leasing industry, jumping from 170 in 2008 to 940 in 2010.

Could a Glass safety app have prevented at least one of those assaults?

7. Instant (yet discreet) notifications.

Out with a client, but anxiously awaiting a seller’s response to an offer? Glass provides instant (yet discreet) text, email and social media notifications.

It’s an easier (and much more polite) way to stay on top of your business than checking your phone every six seconds.

8. Buyer-friendly house hunting apps.

Glass also has benefits for potential home buyers. Real estate powerhouse Trulia is developing a house-hunting Glass app, which sends housing alerts to potential buyers. With a few temple swipes, Glass users can flip through listing photos, get directions to a home, hear a description or contact a real estate agent directly.

9. Be more competitive.

Real estate is a competitive field. Could Glass be the tool that distinguishes you as a forward-thinking, tech-savvy, top-notch real estate agent?

“The Realtors in my area, with markets coming up as they have been, they’ve been doing everything they can to become more competitive,” said LaFarge. “They want to get out there and get the business. One of the things that’s going to help them get the business is having the technology to do what someone else isn’t doing.”

Let’s face it: Glass is just plain COOL. It’s tough for a potential client not to be impressed by an agent with that sort of technology at their fingertips (or brow).

10. Who knows?

I’ll reiterate: Glass is just plain COOL. But the true potential of Glass is somewhat unknown at this point. Much of the device’s impact on real estate lies in the hands of “Glassware” app developers. Consider the possibilities tossed around by Hangout panelists Joshua Berg and LaFarge:

  • An app for appraisers with “speak to text” abilities
  • An app that provides live neighborhood details, sales prices and market information as you move through an area
  • An app designed to provide in-depth details to buyers as they tour a home (e.g. “carpet updated in 2011,” “exterior painted in 2010”)

Will Glass be the next “telegraph”? The next home computer? The next cell phone? Where exactly will software engineers take Google Glass? At this point, we’re not sure.

But we’ll certainly be along for the ride.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jonathan Dalton

    September 5, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Discreet, perhaps, but you’re still going to look like a pompous, self-absorbed ass

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Tech Gadgets

Get rid of mosquitos this summer with this non-toxic, killer light

(TECH GADGETS) Brace yourself, folks. There’s a new mosquito killer in town, and guess what? It doesn’t use toxic chemicals or citronella.

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They’re so ubiquitous that many states claim them as their official state bird. They’re recognized as being arguably the most deadly animal in the world. They spread disease, incite ire and wrath, and ruin summer picnics. Scientists call them “Culicidae,” but we know them by their street names. They’re the common mosquito, and suffice to say, we all hate them with every fiber of our being.

But here’s the problem. As much as we hate the little suckers, getting rid of them is an almost impossible feat. Sure, you can spray yourself from head to toe with toxic chemicals to ward them off. So what if you wind up growing an extra limb in the process? You can use that spare hand to slap the surviving bugs. Or here’s another idea: did you know that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide? And you know what makes you give off extra carbon dioxide? That’s right. Running. So skip the afternoon jog and you should be right as rain. What’s a little extra paunch when trying to stop the spread of malaria?

Then there’s citronella. Don’t even freakin’ get me started on citronella. Is it all natural and safe? Sure, of course it is…but you know what else is all natural? Cyanide. But nobody is over here advocating for using cyanide to end all of your mosquito woes. I mean, yeah, it’ll make you not care about them anymore. But it doesn’t exactly mean it’s good for you. (Author note: seriously, please don’t take cyanide. I really don’t have to elaborate on this, do I?) While citronella is a known mosquito repellant, its scent is nothing short of vile. If you have citronella candles burning at your next cookout, you can say goodbye to both the flying pests and myself. It’ll keep both of us away. Guaranteed.

Then there’s this new product, which is apparently a novel way of attacking the mosquito problem head-on. Combining a special type of ultraviolet LED light, which is evidently downright irresistible to mosquitoes, with something called “bionic temperatures” (which means literally nothing to me, and my mad Googling left me empty handed on the definition of this term), this device is evidently the miracle tool that we’ve all been waiting for. Evidently these bionic temperatures boost the range of this light, sending off a beacon that summons skeeters both far and wide.

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial — but wait, there’s more! Then this nifty little device literally sucks the nasty bugs into its body with a peripheral vortex (a fancypants way of saying it’s a spinny air trap) and get this: it desiccates the everliving heck out of them. Oh yeah. That would be the “physical air-drying” storage box at the base of the machine. So, in summary, this device hails mosquitoes like a dinner bell, goes all twisty sucky vortex, then mummifies the little suckers. Nice.

And yes, friends. It’s safe and all natural, but totally not in the cyanide-which-kills-you-dead kind of way. It’s also quiet, non-toxic, non-polluting (also very valid considerations!) and the best part? It doesn’t reek of citronella. Apparently this magical little mosquito killer can be had for a ridiculously low price on the vendor’s website (another author note: totally not a shill, just really hate both mosquitos and citronella) of just about $30. So if you were thinking about having a barbeque this summer and you wanted to socially distance yourself from the mosquitoes, why not give this product a try? After all, nothing says you’re living the plague-free life quite like a coronavirus-ridden summer full of dehydrated mosquitos, right? Right.

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Tech Gadgets

Google acquires AR manufacturer, North, but what for?

(TECH GADGETS) Google has recently purchased North, an AR startup that boasts impressive 3-D holographic visual displays, but what they plan to do with this new merger is unclear.

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If you allowed pop culture to influence your beliefs about what the 21st century might look like, then you — like most of society — have probably not-so-secretly been hoping that today might vaguely resemble the marvels promised to us from the Back to the Future franchise. After all, we were all assured that we’d have hoverboards to shuttle around on, 3-D holographic advertisements to admire, and a Florida baseball team to root for.

Reality, however, has proven to be starkly different than this fantasy. Sadly, we only got one of these three incredible offerings, but the tech startup, North, is now trying to change all of that by providing us with a new, augmented reality alternative.

It’s fair to say that North, an AR smart lens manufacturer, has been met with both significant hype and equally significant challenges. While the enthusiasm about this company has been reasonably justified (a holographic real-time display in your field of vision is admittedly a pretty cool idea), they still somehow managed to repeatedly fall short on expectations. There have been numerous problems from the get-go that can be blamed for holding them back, too.

What issues, you might be asking? Well, for instance, the price of getting your hands on a sweet share of these sci-fi specs was an exorbitant $999. And if you wanted to get properly fitted in them, you had to not only shell out those beaucoup dollars, you also had to pop into one of two of their only brick-and-mortar retail shops. Even lowering the price of their AR glasses (dubbed “Focals”) down to a mere $600 per pop couldn’t save North from floundering.

Their struggles gradually became public in an assortment of actions performed by the company. First, they laid off something like 150 of their current staff. Then it was brought to light that North secured $40 million in bridge financing to help them stay afloat. Their next step was to cut out the middleman (the retail shops) and take their business entirely online. And if that wasn’t enough, they then finally pulled Focals from their inventory, with a vow to roll out an even better product (Focals 2.0) sometime in 2020.

If you were wondering where this new and improved product was, then wonder no longer: it was never made. Perhaps coronavirus squashed operations. Maybe North couldn’t drum up any more capital for their product. Either way, it was obvious that they needed another major bailout…and we now know that their much-needed helping hand has come from an unexpected place. In an announcement this week, Google has revealed that they have acquired this flailing AR tech company, and the two companies now plan to join heads to potentially (finally!) see this project through.

Google themselves are no stranger to AR, and many people may recall their attempts to get their own AR smart lenses (called “Google Glass”) up and running. Like Focals, though, the company simply couldn’t gain enough traction for Glass to become a popular product from the tech giant. While Google Glass is still available for purchase, it never became the mainstream tech revolution that Google had hoped it would be.

It’s exciting to see these two augmented reality greats come together with a unified goal in mind. After all, they already have a lot in common, with both companies serving as notable innovation masterminds, highly capable of designing and creating impressive AR technology. With that said, it’s still unclear what Google plans to do with its new purchase. Details of the acquisition are understandably hush-hush, and it’s been reported that all evidence of the first-gen of Focals will be scrubbed from the app store by the end of July 2020.

Perhaps this merger will finally allow us to see the much-anticipated Focals 2.0 come to life. Who knows? We eventually got to see the Miami Marlins not only become an actual baseball team, but also win the World Series (not once, but twice!). So is it that much more of a leap to also expect to see affordable holographic displays in our visual field? It’s an intriguing premise, and one that’s exciting to consider. Heck, we’re right there on the cusp of having real-deal hoverboards, too, so maybe this new version of augmented reality can finally become a true reality, as well.

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Tech Gadgets

Google Glass didn’t succeed, but Apple’s AR glasses might

(TECH GADGETS) Apple Glass: Are AR glasses gimmicky, or can Apple improve where Google failed? The potential is enormous, but can Apple meet the expectations?

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Apple may announce a new addition to the iFamily this year: Apple Glass, a set of AR glasses to complement existing Apple products. Even though we’ve seen this story before, here’s why Apple’s rumored eyewear might deserve your attention–if not your money.

This certainly isn’t the first time a technology company has taken their brand name and slotted the word “Glass” after it to create hype. In 2015, Google Glass was discontinued–quite publicly, in fact–due to a variety of issues, chief among which were privacy concerns, and an untenable price tag of around $1500. Lacking a clear market and suitable demand, the shades were put to rest, though it should be noted that a rebranded version is available now (for $999).

Apple is a company that has, in the past, showed a propensity for iteration rather than innovation; the Apple Watch, while a stylish and functional improvement on existing wearable technology, wasn’t even close to the first of its kin, and early versions of the iPad were scrutinized against similarly sized, lower-priced counterparts. This isn’t to say that Apple doesn’t do tech better–just that they are, often enough, pretty late to the party.

In the case of AR glasses, this is a habit that may suit Apple well.

Put bluntly, there isn’t a clearly established need for smart glasses, and while critics of the Apple Watch were quick to say the same thing about that implement, anyone who has worn one for a few hours can recognize (if not fully appreciate) the handiness–no pun intended. It seems fair to afford Apple some grace with this in mind, but the fact remains that the demand for a set of AR glasses simply isn’t there for now.

On the other hand (again, no pun intended), Apple is the master of creating demand and hype where previously there was naught but slumber. For this reason, it behooves us to keep an eye on Apple’s unveiled tech this year–if for no other reason than to know for sure how the company plans to address the sticky issue of AR wearables.

After all, there are numerous medical, exploratory, and generally functional applications for which one could feasibly use AR in a beneficial (not gimmicky) manner, and if Apple is able to expedite that process, far be it from us to criticize. Yet.

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