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.”
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.