Could the property portals go the same way as local newspapers?
Given that it was the portals that trumped the papers, it is an ironical thought – and one that is put very ably by Troy Stanley of Resource Techniques.
He argues that new ways of search, including voice search (are you listening, Alexa?), could mean that Rightmove is no longer an unstoppable force.
Coincidentally, EYE ran a piece only this week about voice search. Paul James suggested that if voice search (“Show me three bedroom homes in central Manchester priced below £285k”) takes off, agents should ensure their properties can be found with the most popular commands.
Troy Stanley has taken the argument further.
“Most experts agree that voice search is becoming increasingly popular with the enhancements of wearable technology, virtual assistants and smart home technology such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.
“These devices will likely be in everyone’s homes and on everyone’s wrist within the next few years, just like smartphones are in everyone’s pockets right now.
“Devices like the Apple Watch, Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo and Google Home, all function around personal virtual assistances like Siri, Alexa and Cortana.
“These devices use Google and other search engines to deliver the results for the questions that the user has asked.
“For example, you could be sat on the sofa with your Google Home device on the shelf, wondering if there are any new properties on the market and simply say ‘Hey Google, what new properties are on the market that I might like?’
“Google would instantly search the web and display the properties via the device of your choice (Smartwatch, Smartphone, TV, tablet or PC) within seconds.
“These types of personal virtual assistants are continually enhancing, and as they are paired to your other accounts such as Google, they know a lot about you.
“For example, your personal virtual assistant will know where you live from where your devices are connected, where you work by tracking your travel via Google Maps every day, and what your purchasing characteristics and styles are from what you buy online.
“The list of information tech companies know about you is significant and ongoing, making their knowledge and understanding of your habits, likes and dislikes practically limitless.
“With this knowledge, when you ask Google to show you what properties you might be interested in, they would be able to bypass the property portals and get the information directly from the estate agent.”
The full piece, which also gives advice to agents how to optimise their websites for conversational keywords, is a fascinating glimpse into a possible future where the likes of Google could make portals obsolete.