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Google Maps: New “What’s Here” Feature

Not too long ago maps were used simply to find locations and get from one point to another. But over recent years digital mapping has pushed the boundaries; adding new and innovative features with Google leading the way. Yesterday was no different; Google announced a new feature called “What’s here?” A very intuitive implementation that works by simply selecting a point on their map and choosing “What’s here?” Google then presents what they feel is “the most relevant result representing that location”

[Read more…]

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New Feature from MyBlogLog Builds Your Contact Manager

So, you just discovered a rockin’ new real estate blog and want to know more about the author. What about adding the author to your contact manager? If you are a MyBlogLog member, you are in luck! MyBlogLog recently added a new feature that allows you to easily add your favorite bloggers contact information to your address book via vCard and hCard.

vCards are commonly used in eSignatures or attached to business emails. They are standard electronic business card files that usually include an address, phone number, email, Website or blog URL, etc. vCards can be added to the Mac OS X Address Book, Microsoft Outlook, and other applications.

Now, I hadn’t heard of the hCard so this gave me a chance to learn more. Apparently an hCard is a microformat for publishing contact information, as well as for extracting details to be used in other applications or  [Read more…]

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Trulia First to Go Google Street View

trulia-street-view.jpgNot since the acquisition of Rudy Bachraty, has the Trulia team unleashed such “coolness” in the real estate community!  As of today, Trulia is the first national real estate search Website to incorporate Google’s Street View technology

Google’s Street View mapping is a phenomenal tool for real estate agents.  With it, agents and consumers can view a property up close at street view level, walk or drive past the property and surrounding neighborhood, and even check out the yard and other attributes of the lot. For those agents specializing in relocation, this is obviously a powerful resource for learning about a new area.  Rudy, Trulia’s Social Media Guru, adds, “Besides zooming in on the minute details of the exterior of the house, now you can actually take a peek at [Read more…]

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Want Free Online Meetings For A Year? Then Read This!

Yugma became one of the fastest growing real-time web collaboration services in 2007! Thanks to the real estate bloggers, and other online technology enthusiasts! But mostly the bloggers! And to show their appreciation, Yugma would like to give you a free year of their premium service valued at $99.50.To learn more about this program and how to get your sponsored Yugma account, check out the details on the Yugma blog. The window to request your account through the Yugma Blogger Program will be through the end of January, 2008. So if you are interested, get on it!

Yugma will also be upgrading their current services with new features and improved performance in the coming weeks. If you have not checked out Yugma’s online meeting tools, it’s worth investigating. It’s an affordable option for real estate agents, keeping you connected with your clients and colleagues!

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Google Offers Free “GPS-Like” Technology for Real Estate Agents

As a real estate professional you’re in and out of neighborhoods all the time. You’re expected to know your area well. But at times you still need some directional assistance. When those times arise, you may be thanking Google. Recently the Google Mobile Maps crew has launched a new “GPS-Like”’ technology called “My Location”. This new feature is freely available for most web-enabled phones, and you don’t need to have GPS on your device for it to work.

So how exactly does the My Location technology work?

Google will pinpoint your location within 1000 meters by calculating and estimating your handset location based on the unique footprint of surrounding cell towers. To start up this feature from with Google Mobile Maps, click “0” and your approximate location will be displayed on the Map. Your location will be represented by a blue dot if you have GPS or a blue dot with a light blue circle around if you do not have GPS. This dot is your approximate location.

To get started, simply text the word “bluedot” to 33669 or visit www.Google.com/gmm on your mobile device to download the application.

Other useful Google Mobile Apps:

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RealBird’s New Features and New Business Model

RealBird has reworked their business model for you real estate agents, and will now be offering their RealBird Listing Publisher technology for free—without advertising. RealBird’s Listing Publisher has some great value propositions and is one of 7 great ways to syndicate your listing. To start, Listing Publisher will allow you to create an unrestricted amount of property websites. Since we know that enhanced content online helps sell the home, start by uploading an unlimited amount of property photos. Also use their powerful HTML editor to embed any multimedia content such as a video tour of the home, panoramic slide show or podcasts.

According to NAR, approximately 70% of buyers want to know more about the community they are buying in, so you’ll want to use the rich-text editors to include community and neighborhood information. Potential buyers will also see a “ValPak” icon to the map providing local coupons to enhance their experience. The Listing Publisher will also cross market your listings on each custom site you’ve created. You will also want to include these listings on your personal website. Simply grab their ‘Just Listed” widget to display your listings in the side bar of your website or blog. Or maybe it’s GeoRSS mapping widget you’re looking for. This widget will provide your website visitors local street maps, amazing 40 degree angle “bird’s eye” views (HOT technology) with local points of interest overlay.

Once your site is built, easily publish your listing site to a domain of your choice. Now it’s time to syndicate your listing for maximum exposure. RealBird can help you get the word out to Google Base, Trulia, Edgeio, Lycos Classifieds, Oodle, Local.com, Vast, and RealBird’s own SearchOnMaps.com. You can also grab the code to post on tools like Craigslist, Backpage, Kijiji, Facebook etc.

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10 Reasons a Real Estate Agent Should Upgrade to Office 2007

It is almost unfortunate that Microsoft released Office 2007 on the same day of the release of Windows Vista. In the technology shadow of the massive juggernaut, Office received little attention. While I am impressed by Vista, it is the advancements that Microsoft has made in the latest version of Office that really blows me away. These changes are significant enough for me to whole-heartedly recommend Office 2007 to real estate agents, no matter what version of Microsoft Office they are currently using.

The most obvious change (and the one most talked about) is the addition of the new user interface called the “Ribbon”. While I think that the idea of changing the menu options based on your current activity is brilliant, I would like to look beyond the obvious to the smaller features and tweaks. Those little things that you wished Office always had and now does.

While I couldn’t possibly cover all of these new features, I have put together a list of 10 features that has made my life easier and more productive.

  1. Save as PDF – The PDF file format is gaining more and more importance in the real estate industry and now you can save your Office files directly as a PDF, no additional software required.
  2. Email Merge in Publisher – Email marketing is becoming a standard marketing channel in the real estate industry. Publisher 2007 has now made it easier to send full cover email campaigns to your past client base by adding email merge capability. You can now personalize each email and send it without relying on the BCC field.
  3. Indexed Searches in Outlook – Outlook has always had a Find feature, but it has been painfully slow. Searches in Outlook 2007 are virtually instantaneous. Your search keywords are even highlighted in the search results. I would have upgraded just for this feature!
  4. Easier Pivot Tables – I am a statistics junky. I love to analyze market activity to find trends. I use pivot tables in Excel to create dynamic tables and charts. The new Excel finally makes creating pivot tables an intuitive process. The pivot charts that it creates look so good that you will want to include them in all of your listing presentations and marketing materials.
  5. Context Checking – There? Their? They’re? I often forget which one to use. The new context checking ability in Word will put a blue underline on any word that it feels is misused. I love technology that makes me look smarter.
  6. Post to Your Blog From Word – You know that blogging is here to stay when Microsoft incorporates it into Word. You can now publish a post directly from Word to your blog. Why would you want to do this? Think, active spelling, grammar and context checking.
  7. Smart Art in Powerpoint – This is so cool that you have to try it. Take a list of bullet points in Powerpoint and turn them into a chart with a click. Use this and your listing presentation will jump to the next level of professionalism.
  8. Text Formatting Menu – Right-click on any text and find a formatting menu pop up. No longer do you need to venture off to the top menu to change the font or size of text. This menu as to be using my wrist fatigue.
  9. Conditional Formatting in Excel – In college, a professor showed us how to use convoluted formulas to change the background colors of cells in Excel based on the cell’s value. With Excel 2007, you just need to highlight the cell(s), click Conditional Formatting and make a selection. Try this to color code a spreadsheet of listings. Color code listings that sold below asking price in one color and those above as another color. Once you do this, you will see market trends without even putting your glasses on.
  10. Graphs that Impress – All I can say is “WOW”! Recreate a graph that you made in a previous version of Office in Office 2007 and get blown away. You will look like a professional graphic artist to your clients.

I’m sure that I missed many indispensable new Office features. If you can think of one, leave a comment telling us about it. We’d love to hear why you think Office 2007 has made your real estate business more efficient.

Tips on Using Microsoft Office 2007 for your real estate business.

View microsoft Office 2007 Video Promotion

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Google Maps 360 Degree Street View

Real Estate agents benefit from real estate technology aimed at increasing transparency. Well today is a big day for that as Google Maps has released their new 360-degree ground level view in major metropolitan areas. Now potential buyers can see real estate before you take the photo.

To access these new street-level maps simply search Google local in select major areas and look for the new “Street-Level Views” icon in the top right corner. Once clicked you will notice the streets turn purple. Then simply move the “stick figure” to a purple area and watch street-level views appear. Real Estate agents and others will notice arrows on the street-level graphics for navigating you through local streets. You can also make these new street-level view full screen, and you can spin the angle of the photo 360 degrees. Have fun with this new piece of technology and enjoy this breif video on the new features.