PropertyGuru launches PropertyGuru Lens
By Digital News Asia February 1, 2019
- Allows smartphone cameras to interact with the buildings in the camera’s viewfinder
- Invite-only closed beta testing will start post-Chinese New Year
PROPERTYGURU Group, an Asian property technology company, on Jan 31 launched PropertyGuru Lens. Powered by augmented reality, artificial intelligent (deep learning), geolocational data and the Group’s proprietary data, PropertyGuru Lens is Southeast Asia’s first visual search solution for the property sector.
PropertyGuru Group chief executive and product officer Hari V Krishnan, said, “PropertyGuru has been making big bets on technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and we’ve been passionately working to connect different technologies to reimagine property discovery for everyone.
“Today, we’re pleased to unveil PropertyGuru Lens, a visual search solution that basically turns your smartphone camera from a passive tool that’s capturing the world around you to one that’s allowing you to interact with the buildings in your camera’s viewfinder. PropertyGuru Lens is our bold attempt to define the future of property search.”
Property search powered by real-time images
Property search has always been PropertyGuru’s flagship product, and PropertyGuru Lens expands on that core competency.
At a very basic level, PropertyGuru Lens is a visual property search engine, which means it can analyse the visual data of a building image using deep learning, and together with geolocation data, perform several different tasks based on the contents of that image.
Hari explained, “PropertyGuru Lens will effectively turn your smartphone camera into a real-world search device. Focus the camera on any residential building and the underlying technology analyses and interprets residential building images in your line of sight and brings up property listings of units that are available for purchase and rent – all in real-time.
Simply put – point, tap and discover homes on-the-go.
“The concept of PropertyGuru Lens was inspired by several factors: 1) Our consumer research reveals that users increasingly see property search as a mobile experience; 2) We recognise cameras are one of the most important features of any smartphones today; 3) We believe that the future of property discovery must be a visual experience, rather than one involving the mastery of the keyboard.”
PropertyGuru Lens, which is now in beta, can prove useful, especially when property seekers don’t know the name or the spelling of the property they are looking at. In this case, visual search can help them discover properties – transcending language barriers.
Co-creating great user experience
PropertyGuru Group chief technology officer Manav Kamboj, said, “Enabling real-time discovery of homes that are available for purchase or rent, on-the-go, is a highly ambitious idea, and like any bleeding edge technology, PropertyGuru Lens is learning and will become better over time.
“Before we release this feature to all our users, we want to invite a select group of power users to the private beta version. Their valuable feedback will help us identify potential issues and more importantly, shape our product roadmap for continual improvement.”
Invite-only closed beta testing of this feature will start post-Chinese New Year. PropertyGuru plans to gradually expand the beta testing to its wider community of users later in the year. Being a first-of-its-kind innovation, PropertyGuru Lens is expected to benefit from the resulting volume of crowdsourced user feedback and recommendations.
Initial user feedback encouraging
Andrew Cheah, a first-time homebuyer, said, “Wow, where has this feature been all this time? It’s amazing that I can just point my smartphone camera at a building and all the details like property name, agents, asking price and so on are made available to me, instantly.”
Khalil Adis, a property consultant, said, “This is like the Pokémon GO of property. The AR-driven feature is so cool…makes property hunting really fun and nifty.”
Manav concluded, “As more and more people help teach PropertyGuru Lens about more and more buildings around them, it will soon earn its way out of the beta zone.”
PropertyGuru Lens will be first made available on PropertyGuru Singapore’s iOS mobile app. The feature is designed to run on iPhone 7 and above devices, and on iOS 12 and up.
The company will consider rolling out this solution to its Android mobile app in Singapore and evaluate how best to bring PropertyGuru Lens to its other core markets – namely, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam – in the near future.
To become one of the first 1,000 private beta users in Singapore to try out visual search property experience, please register your interest at https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/lens. Registration opens on Feb 7, 2019, at 2019hrs.