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I really like Trulia Snapshots.  Congrats Pete and Sami and the Trulia team for a nice job.  Those of you who follow my blog (and Jeff’s) will know that we have been yammering for years to anyone who would listen about the importance of rich data to consumer in home search or, as it turns out, any kind of search.

There is a lot of great stuff about Trulia Snapshots.  The navigation is super slick and the Apple/iphone like bounce effects are cool. I really love the price slider. Trulia does a nice job of “getting” what people are looking for with respect pricing and photos. although in some areas is would be nice to restrict or expand the price interval in some instances.  It is also tedious, in some search areas, to get to a median price where most people are probably looking. when you can only start at most expensive or least expensive and you have to “page” throught the more expensive, less expensive to get to the price range you want.  Too bad you can’t simply drag further right on the screen.

The Ajaxy / javascripty stuff they have done is really cool.  Things like the flip between aerial and road views are a nice touch.  In general their Microsoft Virtual Earth implementation is sound.  That said, I wonder why I can pan the map to a new location or zoom in or out for that matter.  It doesn’t seem to do me any good.  There is no way to get homes to display in my new context.  The only way I can see to  actually get homes to display in an area is to be able to type the name of the place in the search box.  In my opinion this really needs to be addressed.

Its pretty easy to allow users to recenter the search on the map someplace and recalculate the homes from the geo co-ordinates.  Even better, trulia should allow users to draw a polygon and restrict their search to a certain area.

I really like the photo browsing experience.  I think Trulia has done an okay job of focusing on a listing once it is clicked.  I sure wish I could look at more of the photos without interrupting my browsing experience.  I understand all the business reasons why Trulia makes the consumer click through and pop windows to various sites to see more.  I just don’t think it is in the best interests of the consumer.   As a consumer I want to be able to quickly browse many photos of a property to narrow my search to the few listings I really want to spend time researching.

If I were Trulia I would worry less about driving lookey loos (people that click in and then immediately out back to search results) to agents and brokers sites and more about sending a trulia (couldn’t resist)  interested consumer.  To this end, if I were Trulia, I would provide home seekers with a truly immersive visual experience.  How would one do this you might ask?  Well, if they could find a way to allow consumers to “map” their price, geographic and possibly time boundaries they could then let them browse photos of homes.  Absent some refinement this is what they are doing today.  The next step is to stop interrupting the consumer’s search with new windows and new sites with disparate look at feels.  They ought to allow the consumer to browse the photos much like Piclens allows people to browse Flickr albums, Facebook albums, google image searches and even YouTube videos.  If you haven’t checked it out you need to.  You will be blown away.  How easy is this to do?  Super simple.  All Trulia would need to do is add an media rss image feed the page (like the companies above have) that dynamically changes with the search results.  Then Trulia Snapshot would truly rock!