Is Zillow Preparing to Launch a Virutal Tour on Steroids?

… Or am I just having too much fun digging into the US Patent Office website for patent applications filed by Zillow employees? (Previous patent digs can be found on my post about Zillow’s auction patent…)

THE FIND: A team of Zillow employees applied for a patent on an “Interactive floorplan viewer” in Nov ’06.

So what is an an interactive floorplan viewer? A Second Life for homes? A plugin for Google Earth?

I’m definitely not skilled in the art of reading patents (90% of it goes right over my head… especially without the diagrams that are consistently referenced!), but I read it to be an web-based tool that would provide a virtual environment to view photos of a listing… Kind of a virtual tour on steroids!

I can’t figure out if this involves a pure software solution or a new high-tech camera… or something else entirely.

All of this begs a fun question: How long before you can do a full walk-through of a listing while sitting at home in your pajamas?

(David G: Posted on a Tuesday night!)

3 responses

  1. Thanks Dustin; I finally managed to catch up on some sleep over the weekend.

    It’s an interesting patent that pre-dates me so I got some more background from Spencer Rascoff. Very basically; it’s an interactive interface for browsing photo’s of the various rooms in a home (from various angles.) The concept for this picture browser is that the user interacts with a floorplan to select the next image.

    Like the previous patent you highlighted, this was an idea we kicked around while planning We aren’t currently building or planning to build this feature.

  2. David G: It’s not fun if you keep denying all the cool things I’m finding! There’s more patents under Lloyd’s name, but they are either travel-industry related or I can’t make heads or tails out of them. 🙂

  3. Hi Dustin,

    although zillow might not be getting in the interactive floorplan game, there are already several companies offering their services. In my entirely biased opinion, one of the coolest entrants is vis-home; here’s a link to our new player that features a drag-and-drop furniture planner:

    Also, speaking from experience, there’s a big chasm between creating the software and training and deploying technicians to actually create the product.

Leave a Reply