Rather than ask whether or how Zillow will change other industries, ask instead what Zillow _IS_ and how it fits into the information fusion and distribution hierarchy
Let's consider Maslov's hierarchy as an analogous concept. At the base you have survival and eventually you get to self actualization. We are dealing with much the same thing, but on a more global level.
Layer 0 - information silos. You could arguably break this into multiple stages - e.g., pre and post computer. But in any case, the available information is limited - usually to the information producers themselves and sometimes strategic partners.
This pattern will persist well into the future as many people will continue to view it as a competitive advantage. The win-win of information sharing will take a long time to become the norm. But, we are definitely heading that direction.
Layer 1 - global information accessibility. This is the major break-through provided by search engines, made possible through the internet. Companies like Google and Zillow are performing fairly superficial data mining of public information and making that available to everyone.
Layer 2 - multi-source data fusion. Available information is gathered and an initial analysis is provided to determine with data is correct or to estimate the correct answer from the disparate sources. The JDL Data Fusion model is the first model that provides a solid definition of the concepts, except its focus is military intelligence. (Of course, nearly everything we use today developed from military intended origins.)
The link http://www.data-fusion.org/article.php?sid=70
provides a simple overview of the model. In short, there are four levels.
1. Object Refinement - determine the identity and attributes of an object. This is what Zillow is doing with pricing a property
2. Situation Refinement - provide situational awareness. This is what Zillow is doing in allowing users to view neighborhoods, etc. and associated prices.
3. Threat Refinement - the language tells you the source of the concepts. From a purpose agnostic perspective, I would put this as layer 3 in our information hierarchy calling it higher-order analysis and planning. I'll come back to this again.
4. Process Refinement - having a self perpetuating improvement cycle.
The above is 4 stages are what the military has traditionally used. Information fusion is starting to pop up in papers on bio-informatics and multiple other places. You can expect to see much more of it in the future.
Layer 3 - higher-order analysis and planning. This is where information is analyzed and recognizeable patterns are identified. I think AI has progressed to a stage that you can also bundle the planning aspect for dealing with the identifiable patterns.
For example, the next stage for Zillow (or any equivalent) will be to analyze the information, identify under and overpriced properties, and offer up purchase recommendations.
In summary, I think it is less that Zillow is changing other industries than that Zillow is an example of our evolution along an information hierarchy.
Robert T. Boyer, Ph.D.
Leveraged Appreciation Creates Wealth