Real-Estate Site Partners With Microsoft - InformationWeek

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Real-Estate Site Partners With Microsoft

Zillow.com can now provide "bird's eye views" to let home shoppers look at property from four directions, thanks to a new deal with Microsoft's Virtual Earth service.

Zillow.com, a real estate research site, said Friday it now provides 45-degree, low-altitude aerial views of property through integration with Microsoft Corp.'s Virtual Earth service.

The "bird's eye views" let home shoppers look at property from four directions. As a result, they can get a reasonable idea of the surrounding area.

"For the first time on the site, people can see what the home looks like on all sides," Amy Bohutinsky, spokeswoman for Zillow.com, said. "(The views) really allow you to see it up close. It's really the difference between black and white TV and switching to high-definition TV."

Zillow.com, launched in beta in February, provides estimated prices for 65 million of the 88 million houses and condos in the United States, Bohutinsky said. The homes are plotted on street maps and aerial views that include estimated values of buildings in the neighborhood.

Microsoft, through its partnership with Orbimage Inc. of Dulles, Va., has pictures covering about 25 percent of the U.S. population, Bohutinsky said. The software maker expects to have 80 percent coverage by the end of the year. The age of the pictures range between a month and two years.

Zillow.com, which declined to release financial details of its Microsoft partnership, is privately held and based in Seattle. The company does not release number of unique visitors, but gives estimates released by Web metrics firm ComScore Networks, which said the company had 2.2 million unique visitors in March.

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