The New York Times has released version 2.0 of its NY Times Real Estate app — one that the company says represents its first “major redesign” since it the mobile web version was launched back in 2007.
For an iOS app, that’s an eternity. After all, Apple didn’t even open its iOS App Store until 2008. (The app originally launched on the mobile web.) So it’s probably not surprising that Matthew Shadbolt, The Times’ director of real estate product, said that the main goal was “modernizing the user experience,” specifically by creating a more “stream-centric experience.”
[Update: I followed The Times PR team’s lead in being a little handwavey about treating the mobile web version and the native app as the same thing, but just to be clear, the native app didn’t launch until 2010.]
More specifically, while the app previously included news articles from the Times’ real estate section, those articles have moved now front-and-center. When you first open it, the app feels more like a news reader than a real estate search app. It was previously “a weekend product,” Shadbolt said, but the redesign could entice readers to check it more regularly.
Shadbolt declined to offer any specifics about the app’s downloads or usage — according to App Annie, it reached its highest rank in the U.S. App Store (23 in the lifestyle category, 348 overall) back in 2010.
The redesign also comes at a time of broader questions about The Times’ app strategy — a little more than a month ago, The Times itself broke the news that it would be eliminating 100 newsroom jobs and shutting down the recently launched NYT Opinion app.
Anyway, back on the real estate front, Shadbolt said The Times has a “huge competitive differentiator” compared to all the other real estate apps and sites out there — it doesn’t just give you maps and prices, but aims to help answer the question, “What does it actually feel like to actually live there?”
The articles are a part of that, and like the app itself, they’re completely free. Other features include filterable search functionality, of course, plus a new mortgage calculator, school information, email and social sharing tools, and “continuously updated sales activity.” The Times says the app includes “the best” properties from around the world, but it sounds its data is richest in New York City.
You can download the app here.
Property Images provided by The Corcoran Group and Halstead Property LLC