Photo Synth will change real estate

Remember how we were once blown away by the amount of information on the web? The number of facts, rumors, discussions, and, well, the shear number of words that were generated daily?

The textual web is fascinating, but it’s yesterday’s news. The innovation now is the visual web. It’s already begun with Google Street View – you can look out the window of a virtual car on nearly every street in a metropolitan area now. Next up? PhotoSynth. We saw previews of it two years ago, but (holy smokes!) it will be real in 24 hours.

Photosynth takes overlapping photos and constructs a pseudo 3D scene out of them. More images: better scene. An agent could take 400 photos in a house and instead of virtual tours (or annoying video tours), users could walk themselves through the house.

I can only imagine it will get more powerful. Add some more horsepower and they could create scenes from video. Add some more horsepower and they could let you travel through time in a square – through all of the previous users “synths.” You’ll be able to wander off of Google’s Street View and into someone’s yard and, if they’ve uploaded photos, into their home. Creepy, but cool.

I will be very excited to use it. Once they’re “cool enough” to support my operating system. What is this, 1999?


no, you aren't

23 thoughts on “Photo Synth will change real estate

  1. Wow! Galen, I think you’re right when you say PhotoSynth will change real estate. This looks very promising. As far as OS’s go, they better get it going for the Mac soon.

  2. Pingback: Department of Search Blog » Photosynth…Could be pretty cool

  3. There is some pretty awesome potential here. However, as you mention, it relies on large numbers of property photos, which isn’t exactly an easy thing to get these days. Maybe it will change agent’s behaviors?

  4. I think the agents who adopt this early will have a significant advantage over agents who don’t. I see any agent who uses Photosynth setting themselves apart from the competition during a listing presentation if they have a portfolio of homes to show a prospective client.

  5. It’s not hard to get that many pictures in a short period with the right camera. If you don’t want to learn/equip yourself, I’m sure you can hire a professional for a few hundred bux. It should take no more than about 15 minutes.

  6. I’ll be curious to see how many agents try to use this with poor quality photos. Should make it more interesting, yet sad, if the quality of the photos doesn’t improve and all we see are more detailed photos of a house that looks bad. Can you imagine how the blurry shots will turn out?

    It’s a cool technology but my guess is that it will be more compelling when used with higher quality photos. For now, I’ll stick my professional photographer.

  7. Pingback: Photosynth: The Next Step in Virtual Real Estate Tours? | Redfin Seattle Sweet Digs

  8. Reba, do stick with a pro. It’s money well spent. What’s probably going to happen is that graphic artists who currently produce fliers and websites will start producing the virtual tours, and the ones who chose to do digital photography usually do it as well as a professional photographer. So a realtor will have to work with a photosynth-capable graphic artist, who will take the pix, and produce the whole presentation. If the whole package costs $500, it’s probably well worth it, and in the future, you’re not going to be competitive if you don’t do it.

    In the long run, the realtors who don’t produce quality presentations on the web won’t be selling anything except maybe $200,000 houses in White Center. It’s just going to be expected.

  9. I’m not so sure that this will change real estate in any major way. I do a virtual tour for all of the properties I have listed, and I don’t feel that it gives them any significant advantage of homes that don’t have virtual tours. Photo Smyth takes virtual tours to the next level and although very cool, I don’t know how practical it is, and how much it would really help to sell a home.
    It could, however, give you the upper hand in a listing presentation, just by the wow factor alone.

  10. I’m with Riley on this one, and disagree with Larry. Good photos are critical, and lots of them. Flashy, high-end presentations? I don’t see them as making one whit of difference in getting more buyers out of their chairs and into the homes for sale (with the possible exception of new construction that isn’t built yet).

    I don’t think buyers really care about virtual tours as much as having any/all photos to determine ‘should we see this house or skip it’. My gut feeling is that buyers use online photos, virtual tours, videos, etc. to eliminate what NOT to see more than what TO see. I can’t quite imaging that just a cool photo tour, video or fancy presentation will get buyers out of their chairs and into the front doors …

    Hmmm, “OUT OF THEIR CHAIRS AND INTO YOUR FRONT DOOR” … that could be the marketing slogan! 🙂

    Agents will always want the newest, latest, greatest … to wow their seller clients. New presentation products will sell, it’s just that the real audience isn’t really the buyers eyes, it’s the agents and the sellers.

    The first winners could also be the front-runner websites who are first with this, and will by virtue of being first, gain an audience until it becomes ‘old hat’. In the beginning, buyers certainly will go for the sizzle, and check out the site that sizzles. But – will it really get any of them out of that chair and into the front door?

  11. Pingback: 360Digest » My house on Photosynth

  12. Pingback: Selling Los Altos Real Estate With Photosynth | Silicon Valley Real Estate Guide

  13. Leanne, I don’t think we’re disagreeing. What I was saying is that the bar will continue to be raised, and if you don’t produce the minimum expected, your offering will be overlooked. Whether it’s photosynth or virtual tours or whatever else is beside the point. The point is that anyone these days who looks online expects, at a minimum, several photos. That wasn’t true ten years ago, when they were looking at classified ads in the paper. People are going to expect more information, and if you don’t provide it, you’ll get skipped over. Even on Craigs’ list, if you don’t provide a few photos, you won’t get any calls.

    Having said that, some of the grainy and poorly selected photos I’ve seen are not much better than no photos at all. Those ones will get passed over, too. There’s too much inventory out there for buyers to spend time investigating everything, and it’s going to be that way for many years to come. Whatever’s easiest to put on the short list goes on the short list. Everything else doesn’t. So a quality presentation can be defined as one that gets the property on the buyer’s short list.

  14. ok…a couple dumb questions: You have to install Photsyth in order to view a “synth” ?? How big a deal is it for buyers to go thru the clicks to get it installed? Their site seems unstable. I can’t quite seem to explore it too much without it going down.

    I agree, though, it seems like an incredible photo service. I’m very much for making my marketing being on the edge of new stuff..

  15. Brian Miller- I agree that it still seems a little glitchy. I have been playing around with it and it made a few poor “synths” from photo collections I had on hand rather easily (10-15 photos). I went out and shot a house this afternoon with a few hundred photos so we’ll see if that works out. A few of the synths I tried last night couldn’t seem to upload.

    Leanne said “I don’t see them as making one whit of difference in getting more buyers out of their chairs and into the homes for sale (with the possible exception of new construction that isn’t built yet).”

    I think that depends on the market. I work in a vacation area (Leavenworth) where folks travel 2-3 hours to look at homes. If I can show them a great video, virtual tour, or photosynth then maybe they will make the drive over to see just one new property. This is even more crucial when clients are flying in from out of state.

  16. Looks cool. How accurate are the constructions? Working with Vancouver real estate on a quotidian basis, I can’t wait for programs that would enable my customers see simple virtual tours – in a convenient & reliable way.

    I’m in. What software would you deem most fit for the job? I do have one alarming question popping into my mind: what kind of graphics adapter(s) does this require?

    – Jay

  17. Brian Miller, this is just the tip of the ice berg, it a V1/beta, I think in a few month the technology will be much better. Soon you will not need a download, it will work on all platforms and it will be embedded in sites like Redfin and John L Scott, both Microsoft Partners. I think of this like moving from command prompts to graphical user interfaces, it is the start next evolutionary step in computer user interfaces.
    You will start to see professional photographers to specialize 3D photography. Look at the ones pros from National Geographic took, they are amazing.

  18. Pingback: Photosynth. Is It The Newest Trend In Real Estate?

  19. Looks like fun, and in small doses could be a striking addition to a presentation or the on-line presentation. I take most photos of my listings, crop them, lighten them, edit as needed. When I can’t get good photos, I bring in a professional; however, I think the 360-degree virtual tour offers the viewer more control on what to stop & look at in detail than a bunch of overlapping, flashing images that look like a hip-hop video. Looking forward to experimenting with this as the site progresses…

  20. I think the possibilities are beyond what we can imagine now… This is just the beginning. To incorporate a virtual tour into a surrounding city scape would go way beyond our current virtual tours, and I think clients would love it

  21. hi Guys,
    currently i am doing a research project of the use of photosynth in real estate , and how effective it will be. hopefully any of you would have done any earlier tests or got some updated information as of today can share with me.
    thanks in advance.

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