Today, in collaborations I never saw coming, Zillow announced the launch of a new plugin for ChatGPT. It’s called, as you might expect, the ChatGPT plugin. And if you enable it, you can do what you’d expect from something called the Zillow ChatGPT plugin: find a house.
Specifically, those who have enabled the plugin can tell ChatGPT what type of property they want to buy or rent, sharing criteria such as location, price, and number of bedrooms. ChatGPT then dives into Zillow’s database and spits out some options for you.
Generative AI is changing the way people search for information
The plugin is available to “a select few ChatGPT users today, with wider access expected in the future.” (I’m really curious how on earth they’ll select these users. They’ll most likely be people with ChatGPT Plus since that’s usually the one that gets priority for plugins. But if they’re people who spend a lot of time browsing in Zillow when she isn’t, “Maybe I’ve got a chance. Fingers crossed.)
“Generative AI is changing the way people search for information,” reads part of a statement from Zillow CTO David Beitel. “We understand its huge potential and we look forward to developing more technical innovations with OpenAI technology in the future.”
The announcement comes just a few months after Zillow launched its own “natural language search,” which allows shoppers to enter conversational phrases into the website’s search bar to return results. At the time, Zillow boasted that it was “the first major residential real estate marketplace” to implement that kind of AI-powered search. Zillow has focused on growing its core business of home searches and price estimates after winding down its own home buying program at the end of 2021.
Now some of you might be asking, why would someone enter location, price and the number of bedrooms they want into ChatGPT instead of entering them directly into Zillow, for example? To that I say: shut up. The ChatGPT plugin is currently in the “alpha” testing phase (the pre-beta phase), which means that the selected version that users see today is still a long way from the finished product. Testers will presumably be sending a lot of feedback about their needs and use cases, and we’ll see how helpful this can be as we go.
I can only hope that this will lead to some very funny stories as the internet exposes the plugin’s glitches and kinks. Will someone convince ChatGPT to sell them their own house, or the White House, or something else nonsensical? Time will tell! Let’s drive.