Real estate listing and search engine Trulia is out of beta, featuring some usability upgrades, a new answers service, and website widgets.
Trulia’s front page and search feature have had some usability tweaks. The new front page more clearly highlights the four different ways to search Trulia’s data and displays live data feeds. Trulia’s search page features an easier sidebar interface for refining your search. The engine will also suggest related neighborhoods to search in based on how other users have searched. Their heat map and search subscription features (RSS & email) are still there, but the email subscription will now track the life cycle of individual properties and recommend listings similar to a selected property or search (similar neighborhood, price, type, etc.).
The major release along with the revamp is their own Q&A service, Trulia “Voice”. The service lets members post and answer questions about the qualitative aspects of neighborhood. The questions can be searched by geography and tag. Each question or answer can be rated by other members, affecting an overall karma score for content you contribute to the site. This would enable a certain amount of self promotion, because asking and answering with high ratings and gets you better placement in the Q&A rankings. I’d imagine also letting posters earn listing search placement instead of paying by tying the Q&A rankings to listing placement would really set the service on fire. Zillow has a Q&A service, but it’s geared toward asking questions about specific listings.
Finally, Trulia is publicly announcing widgets.trulia.com and housingwidgets.com. The widgets site is currently home to four widgets they’ve developed off of the API they released a couple months ago. The four widgets are the housing map (pre-existing), Trulia Stats (tracks average home prices), Home roll (new listings, filtered), and a Trulia search box. Housingwidgets is a new site that aggregates links to popular widgets related to home rental listings, such as MeeboMe or MyBlogLog. Unfortunately, you can’t use any of the widgets within your Trulia postings.
Trulia is claimed 1.5 million unique visitors in April. During the same time period Zillow claimed 4 million. Both services are close in function, covering search, heat maps, trends, and guides. However, Trulia follows attention data and historical pricing trends on over 2 million live listings. Zillow powers Yahoo Real Estate’s historical pricing graphs, but also has their hallmark formula-based Zestimates for over 70 million homes.