For those who have recently checked out Zillow and did any type of search, you probably noticed a few of the changes we’ve made. This is a result of the official launch of Zillow® Smart Search, the dynamic new version of our search technology that helps you search and navigate all of the real estate information you can find on Zillow. We’ve been enhancing our Web site since Zillow debuted almost two years ago and what we released today includes significantly more capabilities.
One of the biggest challenges we face here at Zillow is also one of our greatest attributes—we have so much data and informationon homes! At times, this can be overwhelming but our jobs are to continue making your experience on Zillow easier and more meaningful. If you haven’t yet seen it, enter an individual address, try searching for neighborhoods or cities and zoom in and out on the map to see what we have pulled together. I think you’ll agree, Smart Search is pretty different from what’s out there today.
In fact, we think it’s so different that we have patents pending on the technology and infrastructure behind how this all works. The Smart Search system has been built to handle simultaneous and complicated queries fast enough to update search results in real-time and intelligently choose whether to show individual properties or group search results by neighborhood, ZIP code, city, county, or state. Our smart filters guide you through the information and let you slice the results and hone in on the properties that most interest you.
It’s pretty exciting for me and the product and tech teams who have made this a reality and I want to thank everyone for their long hours and dedication. So how hard was it? Well, I did a few calculations and have determined that we likely spent about 25,000 man hours developing what you see today, from design, writing code, testing, usability studies and more. And while nothing gets built at Zillow without a big dose of team work, I have to acknowledge Randy Puttick, who is the real architect behind Smart Search.
And if that wasn’t enough, I also want to point out our revamped neighborhood pages that were also introduced today. The changes we made were in part a result of some very helpful feedback from our visitors. You’ll now find demographic information about the people who live in each ‘hood – age, income levels, education, homeowners vs. renters, etc— as well as some data unique to Zillow such as the Zindex across markets, the number of homes that have been flipped (bought and resold within a year) and the Zestimate distribution, which shows you home value trends across an area.
Keep your eye on our blog for some more detailed posts on these new features from some key product team members. Happy searching!
UPDATE: As with many new releases, we have seen a few bugs pop up here and there that could affect your initial experience using our Smart Search technology. These primarily affect those using a Mac with a Firefox browser and may also intermittently affect Zindexes from popping up within our new boundaries. If you’re on a MAC, try to using the new version of Safari. We’re working diligently to get these fixed, but if you noticed anything that doesn’t seem quite right, please do leave a comment and let us know. We appreciate your patience and hope you’ll check back soon.