Real Estate meets the Web, 2.0

Dynamic searching and online map integration for property pundits

Property and real estate portal realestate.com.au has entered the Web 2.0 foray by launching a test site for Web 2.0 functionality and application integration designed to streamline the browsing experience.

The new site, property.com.au, will go live this week and serve as a testing platform for interaction with Web-based real estate information.

Realestate.com.au CIO Chris Vulovic told Computerworld the whole premise of Web 2.0 is for users to interact with content and have control of it instead of just linearly going through it.

"With a standard search you have to keep going back to the search and re-enter data," Vulovic said. "With property.com.au a user can come in and say I want to see properties in Brisbane and all results are available on one screen and if there is a lot they can scale back the criteria by sliding a dial."

An example of this real-time scaling might be refining the search results to display only those properties over a certain value.

"This saves time and gives an immediate visualization of where all the search results are and how many they are," she said. "We don't see any Australian companies taking the approach we are in this way."

User feedback is encouraged on every page and popular changes will eventually find their way into the mainstream portal.

Other features include predictive suburb and postcode dropdown suggestions, combined map and search results on one page, and thumbnails of photos not currently being viewed.

Development of the site took six to eight weeks and was done in-house with realestate.com.au's existing open source technology platform.

Another popular Web 2.0 application that is integrated into the new portal is Google Maps, which was chosen over the previous Whereis Maps because it allows users to drag the map without reloading the page.

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