Skip Navigation
Trulia Logo

Trulia Blog

Technology in 2017 and What it Means for the Real Estate Industry

Trulia VPs of consumer engineering and data engineering reflect on 2016 and what it means for 2017

This past year was an exciting one for Trulia — we launched a bot for Facebook Messenger, a new feature to help renters find a home near transit and we even launched an app for Apple TV. We also created tighter integration across backend and frontend teams to help further improve the consumer experience, plus so much more.

As we reflect on 2016, many of the predictions for tech in real estate that we shared last year rang true. So, I wanted to hear from some of Trulia’s leaders once again on what we hope (and expect) to see in 2017. Here’s what they had to say:

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Heading into 2016, we anticipated seeing widespread consumer adoption of VR, thanks to the impending hardware launches from big name players like Samsung and Oculus. During the year, Google also added their heavy weight to this category with the launch of Daydream. While we now have millions of VR headsets in the hands of consumers, we are still seeing it mainly defined by early adopters. We’re looking for breakout development of apps that aren’t games or video players in 2017. Interestingly, the Pokemon GO phenomenon we experienced over summer (Trulia even got in on the conversation) gave consumers a good sense of what AR can mean for them. With consumers having easier access to embrace AR from current gen mobile devices, it might mean we’ll see a shift in companies investing more in AR as opposed to VR in 2017, and in the future.

“With VR, you experience deeply engaging app experiences the developers created,” said Jeff McConathy, VP of consumer engineering. “With AR, you can immerse yourself in what’s happening around you. I think we’ll see strong development in the area, especially around shopping and professional tools. Google has invested in the area for several years with Project Tango, and unique use cases are starting to gain visibility.”

What does that mean for Trulia? You’ll just have to wait and see.

Artificial Intelligence
If not already the buzzword for 2016, AI will be the buzzword for 2017. Everyone, including Trulia, is investing in AI. At Trulia specifically, our teams have created and deployed a Recommender Engine that learns a consumer’s preferences and surfaces new home listings they might like, and have trained machines to see real estate photos and understand their contents (i.e.: our trained machines can determine if they’re seeing a photo of a kitchen or bathroom, and what type of features it has, such as hardwood floors or granite counters), to personalize and help streamline the house hunt journey.

“There’s a desire for consumers to spend less time in their search for anything, and AI will continue to drive that change,” said Deep Varma, VP of data engineering. “Even though buying a home is one of the largest, most emotional purchases someone will ever make, they have limited time and they need to move fast in their search; artificial intelligence can help with that.”

This is something Trulia will continue investing in, so stay tuned here for more on this.

Integration and Experimentation with New Platforms and Technologies
Similar to what we anticipated for 2016, our expectation in 2017 is to see continued experimentation and integration with new platforms and technologies. The connected home will get smarter and become more mainstream, paving the path for companies like Trulia to consider investing in new areas. Developing the right underlying APIs will play a large role in any company’s success with these platforms, and it’s likely something we’ll see brands investing in on the developer side in 2017.

Another hot product category is voice search. Amazon’s Echo is in a strong position here as the early success story, but similar devices were in abundance at CES this year.

“Amazon opened up the Alexa Lex voice capabilities that power Echo at their AWS re:invent event last month,” said McConathy. “I felt that was a really smart move, and expect to see numerous voice capable devices coming out in 2017 that are powered by Alexa, but not created by Amazon.”

While we thought 2016 was going to be an exciting year for technology and for tech in real estate, 2017 is looking to be even better. At Trulia, we are constantly monitoring and watching the latest trends to see what we might want to adopt for our consumers, so stay tuned here for more news on our innovations.