US20140236768A1 - Physical references for providing supplemental real estate information - Google Patents

Physical references for providing supplemental real estate information Download PDF

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US20140236768A1
US20140236768A1 US13/907,681 US201313907681A US2014236768A1 US 20140236768 A1 US20140236768 A1 US 20140236768A1 US 201313907681 A US201313907681 A US 201313907681A US 2014236768 A1 US2014236768 A1 US 2014236768A1
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reference
physical
item
information
supplemental
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Abandoned
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US13/907,681
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Sasha Aickin
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REDFIN CORP
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REDFIN CORP
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Priority to US13/907,681 priority patent/US20140236768A1/en
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
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    • G06F7/06Arrangements for sorting, selecting, merging or comparing data on individual record carriers
    • GPHYSICS
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    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/10Office automation, e.g. computer aided management of electronic mail or groupware; Time management, e.g. calendars, reminders, meetings or time accounting
    • G06Q10/109Time management, e.g. calendars, reminders, meetings, time accounting
    • G06Q10/1093Calendar-based scheduling for a person or group
    • G06Q10/1095Meeting or appointment
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    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • G06Q30/0241Advertisement
    • G06Q30/0251Targeted advertisement
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    • GPHYSICS
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    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
    • G06Q30/0601Electronic shopping
    • G06Q30/0613Third-party assisted
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
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    • G06Q30/0623Item investigation
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    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q50/00Systems or methods specially adapted for specific business sectors, e.g. utilities or tourism
    • G06Q50/10Services
    • G06Q50/16Real estate
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/02Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving the use of web-based technology, e.g. hyper text transfer protocol [HTTP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/02Services making use of location information
    • H04W4/029Location-based management or tracking services

Abstract

A supplemental information system is described herein that uses physical references placed throughout a property to provide extended information about the property to a potential buyer or other interested party. A seller or seller's agent describes various items of the property in electronic form. The seller associates each item description with a physical reference, such as a QR code. Next, the seller prints out and affixes the physical reference to the item of interest. Potential buyers or others interested in the property can use a smartphone or similar device with a physical reference reading application to read the physical reference and retrieve the supplemental information. The reference may also change behavior over time or provide different information based on the requesting user. Thus, the system makes it easy for real estate sellers and others to connect extended electronic information with physical real estate items.

Description

    PRIORITY CLAIM
  • The present application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/710,606, filed Oct. 5, 2012, which is incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • When describing real estate, the seller of a property may wish to highlight facts about particular locations or items in the home. For instance, the fireplace may be operable, original to the classic home, and the fireplace surround may be made from locally produced Heath brand art tile. As another example, a window may have a terrific ocean view on clear days, but the view may be obscured on cloudy days or at night.
  • Sellers or seller's agents can provide comprehensive descriptions of all of the amenities of a home in listing (e.g., in the multiple listing service (MLS)). Further, they often attach those descriptions directly to the items in question (e.g., a seller could affix a note to the fireplace surround saying “original Heath tiles”). However, these descriptions are often only textual in nature, and do not provide potential buyers with a complete understanding of the feature being highlighted. Potential buyers may even be confused about what the notes mean or are referring to.
  • When the agent for the property describes the property electronically (e.g. in the multiple listing service (MLS)), it may be difficult to include all these details. Further, even if the details are all described exhaustively, it may be difficult for potential buyers to wade through all that data and find the tidbits that are relevant to particular places or items in the home. When a potential buyer is physically viewing the home, it can be difficult for the buyer to access the detailed information, or even be aware that it exists. A buyer may be looking at the fireplace surround, and thinking, “I wonder if that's Heath tile”?
  • A physical reference is a reference in the physical world to extended electronic information. One popular current example is a quick response (QR) code, which much like a bar code can be placed on virtually anything and scanned with a smartphone or more portable computing device to access further information stored online. The general idea of using QR Codes is to encode and make available information about the physical item that the code is attached to. Various types of physical references exists, but have not been effectively applied to real estate and the process of home buying.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram that illustrates components of the supplemental information system, in one embodiment.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow diagram that illustrates processing of the supplemental information system to tag a physical item with associated electronic information by creating a physical reference to the electronic information, in one embodiment.
  • FIG. 3 is a flow diagram that illustrates processing of the supplemental information system to retrieve contextually relevant supplemental electronic information related to a physical real estate item, in one embodiment.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates an example physical real estate location, such as a room, with a feature labeled with a physical reference for which supplemental electronic information is available, in one embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Embodiments of the invention may be operational with numerous general purpose or special purpose computing system environments or configurations. Examples of well known computing systems, environments, and/or configurations that may be suitable for use with the invention include, but are not limited to, personal computers, server computers, hand-held or laptop devices, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based systems, set top boxes, programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, distributed computing environments that include any of the above systems or devices, and the like.
  • Embodiments of the invention may be described in the general context of computer-executable instructions, such as program modules, being executed by a computer and/or by computer-readable media on which such instructions or modules can be stored. Generally, program modules include routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, etc. that perform particular tasks or implement particular abstract data types. The invention may also be practiced in distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network. In a distributed computing environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote computer storage media including memory storage devices.
  • Embodiments of the invention may include or be implemented in a variety of computer readable media. Computer readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by a computer and includes both volatile and nonvolatile media, removable and non-removable media. By way of example, and not limitation, computer readable media may comprise computer storage media and communication media. Computer storage media include volatile and nonvolatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data. Computer storage media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical disk storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can accessed by computer. Communication media typically embodies computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. The term “modulated data signal” means a signal that has one or more of its characteristics set or changed in such a manner as to encode information in the signal. By way of example, and not limitation, communication media includes wired media such as a wired network or direct-wired connection, and wireless media such as acoustic, RF, infrared and other wireless media. Combinations of the any of the above should also be included within the scope of computer readable media.
  • According to one or more embodiments, the combination of software or computer-executable instructions with a computer-readable medium results in the creation of a machine or apparatus. Similarly, the execution of software or computer-executable instructions by a processing device results in the creation of a machine or apparatus, which may be distinguishable from the processing device, itself, according to an embodiment.
  • Correspondingly, it is to be understood that a computer-readable medium is transformed by storing software or computer-executable instructions thereon. Likewise, a processing device is transformed in the course of executing software or computer-executable instructions. Additionally, it is to be understood that a first set of data input to a processing device during, or otherwise in association with, the execution of software or computer-executable instructions by the processing device is transformed into a second set of data as a consequence of such execution. This second data set may subsequently be stored, displayed, or otherwise communicated. Such transformation, alluded to in each of the above examples, may be a consequence of, or otherwise involve, the physical alteration of portions of a computer-readable medium. Such transformation, alluded to in each of the above examples, may also be a consequence of, or otherwise involve, the physical alteration of, for example, the states of registers and/or counters associated with a processing device during execution of software or computer-executable instructions by the processing device.
  • As used herein, a process that is performed “automatically” may mean that the process is performed as a result of machine-executed instructions and does not, other than the establishment of user preferences, require manual effort.
  • A supplemental information system is described herein that uses physical references placed throughout a home or other areas of a subject property to provide extended information about the property to a potential buyer or other interested party (e.g., a home inspector or agent). A seller or seller's agent describes various items of the property in electronic form, potentially including photos, videos, documents, or other electronic information. The seller associates each item description with a physical reference, such as a QR code. Next, the seller prints out and affixes the physical reference to the item of interest. For example, a seller may describe a model of refrigerator recently purchased for the kitchen, and affix a QR code to the refrigerator that references documentation of the refrigerator's warranty, and an owner's manual for proper operation.
  • Potential buyers or others interested in the property can use a smartphone or similar device with a physical reference application to read the physical reference (e.g., the QR code). In response, the application refers the potential buyer to electronic information previously stored by the seller, such as a web page, a snippet of descriptive text, an image, or a document. Through this process, real-world real estate items (such as a fireplace) are connected to electronic information (such as text snippets or photographs) via a computer-readable physical reference on the real-world item. The reference can refer to a web site (e.g., to register for more information), a document (such as a disclosure report), an image (e.g., a floor plan or a photograph of the view from a window on a clear day), or any other electronic information about the item.
  • The reference may also change behavior over time. For instance, a reference to a photograph of the view from a window may show a nighttime view when dereferenced during the day, and a daytime view when dereferenced at night. The reference may change behavior based on facts about the user, such as information stored in a user profile. For instance, the physical reference may allow users to inform their agent that they have toured a home. An application on a smartphone or other mobile device may already know the identity and location of the user (e.g., through global positioning system (GPS) or cellular hardware), so the reference may simply tell the smartphone application to inform the agent that the user is in the home. The reference may change behavior for any other reason that is relevant. For instance, there might be a link to disclosure documents. Before the disclosures are available, accessing the reference may display a “coming soon!” message, but after the disclosures are available, the same action may link to the actual documents.
  • The reference may take action (i.e., may not be read-only). For example, in a planned community, the reference might be to sign up for more information on homes in the development. The reference may refer to data that is already stored locally on the mobile device, that is stored external to the device (e.g., on a website), or the reference may contain the data directly through embedded information. The reference may refer to private or proprietary data, including MLS data. The reference may also include commercial information about the physical item. For instance, a stager may stage a home for sale by including a sofa. The stager may place a QR Code on the sofa. Users who access the QR Code may be presented with an opportunity to purchase the sofa or other furnishings, or to use the stager's services for selling their own home. Thus, the supplemental information system makes it easy for real estate sellers and others to connect extended electronic information with physical real estate items, and to get that information in front of buyers at an appropriate time when the buyer is near the items.
  • As discussed above, a real estate seller or other person picks physical objects that the person wishes to highlight for buyers or others. The person uses an application or website (e.g., from a mobile device) to create QR code tags (or other physical references) for each item. Each tag may contain some information related to the physical object. The information could include one of these types or others: 1) a uniform resource locator (URL) to a web site, document, photograph, or similar, 2) a short textual description of the item, or 3) a link that is interpreted by an application on the mobile device (e.g., via a domain-specific URL, like redfin://amenity_description?listing_id=123&amenity_id=456).
  • The real estate seller or other person prints out the QR codes and affix them to or near the physical objects to which they relate. A potential buyer or agent uses a mobile QR code reader to read the QR code. When the QR code is interpreted, the appropriate software on the mobile device handles the code. For example, if the code encodes an HTTP URL, the URL may be displayed in a mobile browser. If the code encodes an application specific link, the relevant software may interpret that link. If the label maps to a URL, the browser may resolve the URL, and the server may render the page, as with any other HTTP request. Since most devices have limited screen sizes, the server may return very specific and targeted results (e.g., only the photograph in question with some short comments).
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram that illustrates components of the supplemental information system, in one embodiment. The system 100 includes an item identifying component 110, an item description component 120, a reference creation component 130, a reference decoding component 140, a reference looking component 150, a description display component 160, and a reference behavior component 170. Each of these components is described in further detail herein.
  • The item identifying component 110 receives an identification of a physical real estate item with which a user wants to associate supplemental electronic information. The item may include any part of a property listing, inside or out, such as appliances, fixtures, landscaping, lighting, docks, patios, and so forth. The user may provide a text description to refer to the item (e.g., a label so that the user knows which reference the item is related to later), such as “fireplace”. A software application associated with the system 100 may also capture other information when a user identifies an item, such as a digital photograph, a GPS location, or other information.
  • The item description component 120 receives electronic supplemental information to associate with the real estate item. The description may include text, a web link, audiovisual information, documents, or any other electronic information. The user may type the information into a software application, put up a website with further information, upload photographs to a website, or provide the information via other electronic facility. The description is the supplemental information that others users may be able to see about the item upon looking up a physical reference affixed to or near the item. The item description may include conditions under which to display various information, such as a different description provided to unauthenticated users versus a more thorough description or additional details to provide to authenticated users. For example, MLS information associated with an item may be only for authenticated users.
  • The reference creation component 130 creates a physical reference to the electronic information by creating a physical tag that can be printed out or otherwise physically affixed to the item. The component 130 may include a software application for generating QR codes or similar physical references, and may receive an electronic reference to the supplemental information, such as a URL that points to a website or other facility that stores the supplemental information. The URL can then be embedded within the physical reference, such as the squares and patterns of a QR code. The reference creation component 130 receives the electronic reference, generates the tag, and then allows the user to print out the tag or display it (e.g., via an electronic picture frame placed near the item).
  • The reference decoding component 140 receives a physical reference from a visiting user interested in more information related to a real estate item, and decodes the reference to extract an electronic reference to the supplemental information. For example, a QR code reader application may acquire a photo of a QR code from a smartphone's camera, and then decode the QR code to extract any embedded information in the QR code, such as a URL or direct information (e.g., description text). The physical reference typically includes some level of encoding for uniformity, and so that users understand they are viewing a physical reference with available extended information. QR codes are just one such physical reference, and the system may use barcodes or other types of encoded physical reference.
  • The reference lookup component 150 looks up the decoded reference to access the supplemental information associated with the real estate item. The lookup may include providing a URL to a web browser, invoking a domain-specific URL that launches a specified application on a computing platform (e.g., redfin:// which launches the Redfin real estate application), retrieving local information stored on the device, or retrieving other types of information. The reference lookup component 150 inspects a format of the decoded electronic reference, identifies the appropriate application for handling the decoded reference, and invokes the application. The application then provides the supplemental information to the visiting user.
  • The description display component 160 displays the supplemental information in response to the visiting user requesting the supplemental information by providing the physical reference to the system. The description display component 160 may display text to the user, display formatted information (e.g., via hypertext markup language (HTML) or other structured text, play a video for the user, display an image, and so on. The description display component 160 uses an electronic device associated with the visiting user to provide the user with contextually relevant supplemental information related to a physical real estate item that the user is near.
  • The reference behavior component 170 optionally manages dynamic behavior of a physical reference to provide varying supplemental information to the visiting user. Upon receiving a request to look up a decoded reference and retrieve supplemental information, the component 170 may determine one or more environmental criteria surrounding the request and/or one or more states at the time the request is made, such as an identity of the requesting user, a location from which the request was made, a time of day, whether certain other conditions are met, whether the device making the request is known, and so forth. For example, the system 100 may provide an image that represents a view out of a window or of a particular room of the house at a time of day other than the present time. In this way, the user can look out the window or at the room to see the current view, and use the physical reference to see an image of the view at another time. The window may even include various physical references for viewing images from each hour of the day. Additionally, the system 100 may provide, based solely on a determination made by the user's device of the location of the physical item and/or reference, an automatically and periodically updated illustration or other description of the geographic location of the physical item, such as, for example, information regarding and/or distances to neighborhoods, schools, traffic statistics and/or other landmarks of interest within a predetermined distance. The component 170 may also vary behavior based on the particular user making the request, such that some users receive different or more detailed information than others.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow diagram that illustrates processing of the supplemental information system to tag a physical item with associated electronic information by creating a physical reference to the electronic information, in one embodiment. Beginning in block 210, the system receives a selection of a physical item for which a user wants to provide supplemental electronic information. The item may include an item in a home for sale, such as the kitchen tile or cabinets, on the exterior of the home, such as a light fixture or brick siding, or other features of the home, such as a pool, dock, mailbox, and so forth. Any physical item to which the user can affix a physical reference (e.g., a printed QR code) is an item for which the user can provide supplemental electronic information.
  • Continuing in block 220, the system identifies the selected item electronically in the system. For example, the system may receive a short name or identifier for the item, such as “kitchen tile”, so that the user later knows what a particular reference refers to. The user may take a photograph of the item or capture other identifying information that can later be used to help an agent or other party know where to hang physical reference tags. For example, the system may provide a map or floor plan with an indication of each location within a house where a physical reference should be placed.
  • Continuing in block 230, the system creates a physical reference that points to supplemental electronic information. The physical reference may be a barcode, QR code, or other encoded reference that users recognize to provide to a reader application for the reference format. The system may create an image of the reference and allow the user to print the reference or schedule the reference to be printed along with other references associated with the same home or other real estate. The system may also store an electronic version of the created reference so that the reference can be reprinted later if needed.
  • Continuing in block 240, the system receives a reference type that indicates how the physical reference will be handled once decoded. QR codes, as an example physical reference, can hold many types of information including text descriptions, text in the form of a URL that refers to web or other content, small amounts of binary data (such as images), and so forth. The reference may be of any type supported by a selected reference format. A URL is a way for a physical reference to refer to an electronic reference, which may then refer to vast amounts of useful information associated with a real estate item, as well as decision-making logic such as varying behavior of the reference based on certain conditions.
  • Continuing in block 250, the system receives the supplemental information to associate with the physical reference. Receiving the supplemental information may include publishing a website or web page of supplemental information at a URL embedded within the physical reference. Receiving supplemental information may also include embedding information, such as a text description, directly in the physical reference itself. The system receives whatever supplemental information the user wants to associate with the identified real estate item and stores the information for later retrieval when users provide the physical reference to the system and request the associated information.
  • Continuing in block 260, the system produces a physical manifestation of the physical reference. For example, the system may print the reference onto paper or labels that the user can affix to the identified real estate item, or the system may provide other physical embodiments of the reference (e.g., an e-ink display with the reference). The physical reference completes the link between the electronic and physical worlds, allowing a user to associate extended electronic information with a contextually relevant physical location, such as next to an item in the physical world. This allows users to find information about items without knowing the information exists, and to do so at a relevant location near the physical item.
  • Continuing in block 270, the system stores the received reference information for handling later requests to decode the physical reference and provide the associated supplemental electronic information. The system may store the reference information in a data storage facility, such as a file, database, cloud-based storage service, or other persistent data store. The information may be organized in one or more data structures, and formatted for easy retrieval in response to requests. For physical references that embed URLs, the reference information may be stored on a web server and associated with a particular virtual directory or other location specified by the URL. After block 270, these steps conclude.
  • FIG. 3 is a flow diagram that illustrates processing of the supplemental information system to retrieve contextually relevant supplemental electronic information related to a physical real estate item, in one embodiment. Beginning in block 310, the system receives a physical reference associated with a real estate item at a location where the real estate item is located. The system may receive the reference by receiving a camera image taken with a portable electronic computing device carried by a potential buyer or other user of the system. For example, the user may have a QR code reading software application installed on the device, and point a camera of the device at the QR code to get further information related to an item to which the code is affixed.
  • Continuing in block 320, the system decodes the received physical reference to discover an electronic reference embedded within the physical reference. For example, if the physical reference is a QR code, then the embedded electronic reference may include descriptive text, a URL, a local storage path, or another reference to further information about the item. The system decodes the reference in accordance with a format of the physical reference. Physical references like QR codes, barcodes, and others have well known processes for extracting textual, numeric, and/or binary information from the physical reference that are well known in the art. The system applies these processes to decode the received reference.
  • Continuing in block 330, the system determines an application to resolve the discovered electronic reference to receive supplemental electronic information about the real estate item. The system determines the application based on the embedded electronic reference. If the reference is text data, then the system may determine that a text reading application will be used to display the data. If the reference is a URL specifying a hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) domain, then the system may invoke a web browser to navigate to the URL and render an HTML response to the user. If the reference is a domain-specific URL, then the system may invoke an application associated with the specified domain and provide the URL to the application for further processing.
  • Continuing in block 340, the system invokes the determined application and provides the electronic reference to the application. The application may receive the electronic reference as a parameter (e.g., an argument on the command line or other data passing method), and read the electronic reference to looking and identify what supplemental information to display. For example, if the electronic reference is a URL and the application is a web browser, then the web browser looks up the first part of the URL using a domain name service (DNS), connects to a web server at the returned internet protocol (IP) address, and provides the virtual directory portion of the URL to the web server to retrieve a web page in response.
  • Continuing in block 350, the system sends a request to retrieve the supplemental information from the invoked application to a data store that contains the supplemental information. The data store may include a web server, database, or other location where earlier provided supplemental information was stored for retrieval by requesting users (e.g., via the process described with reference to FIG. 2). The system then receives a response that includes the supplemental information. For example, the supplemental information may be in the format of an HTML response to a submitted web request.
  • Continuing in block 360, the system optionally determines a behavior of the provided electronic reference. Some electronic references may produce varying behavior depending on one or more criteria, such as which user is making the request, a time of day, or other factors. For example, a particular electronic reference may provide summary information to the public and more detailed information to registered users of a real estate website.
  • Continuing in block 370, the system displays the received supplemental information to the user. The display may include formatted text, image data, audiovisual content, or any other form of data stored as supplemental information for the real estate item. In some cases, the information is read-write or interactive, such that the user can provide information in conjunction with requesting the supplemental information. The supplemental information may request that the user respond to a survey or other questions about the real estate item to receive the supplemental information. After block 370, these steps conclude.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates an example physical real estate location, such as a room, with a feature labeled with a physical reference for which supplemental electronic information is available, in one embodiment. A room 410 represents any of potentially many rooms in a real estate property being sold by a seller. The room 410 includes a window 420 with available supplemental electronic information. The seller or another person has affixed a piece of paper with a physical reference 430 on it that a buyer or other interested user can scan with a reference reading application to display supplemental electronic information about the window 420. By placing the physical reference 430 in the physical space next to the window 420, the seller provides a contextually relevant notice to potential buyers that more information is available.
  • From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that specific embodiments of the supplemental information system have been described herein for purposes of illustration, but that various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims.

Claims (20)

1. A computer-implemented method to tag a physical item with associated electronic information by creating a physical reference to the electronic information, the method comprising:
receiving a selection of a physical item for which a user wants to provide supplemental electronic information;
identifying the selected item electronically;
creating a physical reference that points to supplemental electronic information related to the selected item;
receiving a reference type that indicates how the physical reference will be handled once decoded;
receiving the supplemental information to associate with the physical reference;
producing a physical manifestation of the physical reference; and
storing the received reference information for handling later requests to decode the physical reference and provide the associated supplemental electronic information,
wherein the preceding steps are performed by at least one processor.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein receiving the selection of the physical item comprises selecting an item in a home for sale to which the user can affix a physical reference.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein identifying the item electronically comprises receiving a short name or identifier for the item with which the user can later distinguish which item a particular reference refers to.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein identifying the item electronically comprises storing information identifying a location of the item using location hardware of a mobile device.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein creating the physical reference comprises generating at least one of a bar code or a quick response (QR) code.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein creating the physical reference comprises creating an image of the reference and instructing the user to print the reference.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein receiving the reference type comprises receiving an indication that the physical reference decodes to a uniform resource locator (URL) for accessing the supplemental information related to the selected item.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein receiving the supplemental information comprises publishing a website or web page of supplemental information at a uniform resource locator (URL) embedded within the physical reference.
9. The method of claim 1 wherein receiving the supplemental information comprises embedding information directly in the physical reference itself.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein producing a physical manifestation of the physical reference comprises printing the physical reference onto paper or labels that the user can affix to the identified real estate item.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein storing the received reference information comprises storing the reference information in a persistent data store accessible by potential buyers that view the selected real estate item.
12. A computer system for using physical references for providing supplemental real estate information, the system comprising:
a processor and memory configured to execute software instructions embodied within the following components;
an item identifying component that receives an identification of a physical real estate item with which a user wants to associate supplemental electronic information;
an item description component that receives electronic supplemental information to associate with the real estate item;
a reference creation component that creates a physical reference to the electronic information by creating a physical tag that can be printed out or otherwise physically affixed to the item;
a reference decoding component that receives a physical reference from a visiting user interested in more information related to a real estate item, and decodes the reference to extract an electronic reference to the supplemental information;
a reference lookup component that looks up the decoded reference to access the supplemental information associated with the real estate item; and
a description display component that displays the supplemental information in response to the visiting user requesting the supplemental information by providing the physical reference to the system.
13. The system of claim 12 wherein the item identifying component includes an identification of an item located at a property for sale and wherein the item identifying component captures information related to the location of the item.
14. The system of claim 12 wherein the item description component receives at least one of text, a web link, audiovisual information, and documents to associate with the real estate item.
15. The system of claim 12 wherein the item description component receives one or more conditions under which to dynamically display different information related to the real estate item.
16. The system of claim 12 wherein the reference creation component generates a uniform resource locator (URL) at which to store the electronic information and embeds the URL within a quick response (QR) code.
17. The system of claim 12 wherein the reference decoding component includes a software application for reading physical references that executes on a portable computing device associated with the visiting user.
18. The system of claim 12 wherein the reference lookup component inspects a format of the decoded electronic reference, identifies an appropriate application for handling the decoded reference, and invokes the application.
19. The system of claim 12 further comprising a reference behavior component that manages dynamic behavior of a physical reference to provide varying supplemental information to the visiting user based on one or more conditions.
20. A computer-readable storage medium comprising instructions for controlling a computer system to retrieve contextually relevant supplemental electronic information related to a physical real estate item, wherein the instructions, upon execution, cause a processor to perform actions comprising:
receiving a physical reference associated with a real estate item at a location where the real estate item is located;
decoding the received physical reference to discover an electronic reference embedded within the physical reference;
determining an application to resolve the discovered electronic reference to receive supplemental electronic information about the real estate item;
invoking the determined application and providing the electronic reference to the application;
sending a request to retrieve the supplemental information from the invoked application to a data store that contains the supplemental information;
determining a behavior of the provided electronic reference; and
displaying the received supplemental information to the user.
US13/907,681 2012-10-05 2013-05-31 Physical references for providing supplemental real estate information Abandoned US20140236768A1 (en)

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US13/907,632 Active 2034-02-04 US9406082B2 (en) 2012-10-05 2013-05-31 Multiplexing web requests for improved performance
US13/907,724 Abandoned US20140100956A1 (en) 2012-10-05 2013-05-31 Providing fast alerts for rapidly changing real estate data
US14/046,811 Abandoned US20140143644A1 (en) 2012-10-05 2013-10-04 Web browser page transition acceleration
US14/046,833 Active US9706011B2 (en) 2012-10-05 2013-10-04 Personalized real estate event feed
US14/047,820 Abandoned US20140100905A1 (en) 2012-10-05 2013-10-07 Home tour and open house scheduler
US15/198,786 Abandoned US20160337481A1 (en) 2012-10-05 2016-06-30 Multiplexing web requests for improved performance
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US14/046,811 Abandoned US20140143644A1 (en) 2012-10-05 2013-10-04 Web browser page transition acceleration
US14/046,833 Active US9706011B2 (en) 2012-10-05 2013-10-04 Personalized real estate event feed
US14/047,820 Abandoned US20140100905A1 (en) 2012-10-05 2013-10-07 Home tour and open house scheduler
US15/198,786 Abandoned US20160337481A1 (en) 2012-10-05 2016-06-30 Multiplexing web requests for improved performance
US15/616,721 Pending US20180007169A1 (en) 2012-10-05 2017-06-07 Personalized real estate event feed

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US20180007169A1 (en) 2018-01-04
US20160337481A1 (en) 2016-11-17
US20140100905A1 (en) 2014-04-10
US20140143644A1 (en) 2014-05-22
US20140344112A1 (en) 2014-11-20
US9706011B2 (en) 2017-07-11
US9406082B2 (en) 2016-08-02
US20140100956A1 (en) 2014-04-10
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