Property search and valuation site Zillow and national real estate brokerage ZipRealty have announced the launch of free real estate applications for mobile devices using Google’s Android operating system.

Zillow launched its iPhone app in April of last year and reports nearly 1 million total downloads. Search for "real estate" in the iTunes App Store and Zillow’s app is at the top — because it has been downloaded the most, Zillow said. ZipRealty launched its iPhone application in December and is second-ranked in the app store. The brokerage reports more than 125,000 total downloads.

Both Android apps contain many of the same features as the iPhone apps, as well as some unique to Android.

For Zillow, as with the iPhone app, users will be able to physically travel within a residential neighborhood to view area "Zestimates" (Zillow’s home-value estimates), homes for sale, homes for rent, "Make Me Move" listings (where an owner puts their dream price on their home without actually putting it on the market) and recently sold data for individual homes in that neighborhood. Zillow has data for 95 million homes across the country.

Users can contact agents or owners from the app and filter searches by sale price, rental price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and listing type.

According to Zillow, what makes its Android app stand out is the ability for users to "voice search" — a feature not available in the iPhone platform. Users can say an address, neighborhood, ZIP code or city and the app takes them there on a map. The app also uses Google Street View to let users see homes up close.

"As Google adds additional features and services, we expect to take advantage of them on the Android platform," said Zillow spokesperson Whitney Tyner.

The Android operating system has some limitations as well — the system does not support, as the iPhone does, the ability to save searches and sign up for "push notifications" when new for-sale, for-rent, Make Me Move or recently sold listings are added to a saved search.

Zillow will update the app as new features become available, Tyner said.

ZipRealty’s Android app, as with the iPhone app, allows users to search for actively listed homes for sale, along with property photos and third-party home-value estimates from Zillow and Cyberhomes. Search results show up on Google Maps and also include recently sold homes with sale prices. The brokerage has listings from nearly 5,000 U.S. cities and neighborhoods across the country.

The brokerage company’s Android app also incorporates Google Street View, though it does not have voice search or allow users to save searches. ZipRealty’s Android app also does not include the augmented reality "HomeScan" feature (a part of the company’s iPhone app) that allows users to determine whether a home is for sale — or has recently sold — simply by pointing their phone’s camera at it.

Last month, tech blog MobileCrunch reported that Google and its hardware partners were shipping 60,000 Android handsets a day, or about 5.4 million a quarter. The same article noted that Apple sold 8.7 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2009.


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