Search engine behemoth Google is about to start a new path to marketing real estate. Google Glass, the smart, Internet-connected Google glasseyewear that uses pre-programmed personal data, will follow prospective home buyers, guiding them to nearby homes for sale or rent. A realtor wearing Glass can offer live virtual tours, personally narrated to point out the features that interest a particular client.

Astute Marketers Are Getting Ready

Real estate marketing site Trulia just introduced an app for Google Glass. One thing it does is send alerts to users about new listings they’re likely to be interested in, based on information obtained in a prior interview or the kind of houses they have recently searched online. Zillow, another property marketer, also is developing a glassware app in which users you can pull up information about when a house was last sold, for how much and then compare the current asking price. And, of course, you can instantly contact your realtor, lender, attorney or wife. Apartment rental site ForRent.com is certain to follow up with its own app in the near future, incorporating some of the features Trulia offers—the ability to walk down a street and see in great detail all the properties for sale or rent in the neighborhood, as well as walking directions to properties and being able to contact the seller’s agent and arrange for a showing.

Realtor Safety

According to Safety Awareness Firearms Education, crimes against real estate agents have mushroomed over the past few years. Google Glass could alert authorities in time to prevent an attack by having preset gestures or catch phrases to trigger an alert. Ashley Okland, age 27, was found dead from a gunshot wound inside the model unit of a new residential complex in West Des Moines last April. Oakland was a real estate agent on duty during an open house when an unknown assailant brutally murdered her. She was alone. Criminals target realty professionals because the creeps perceive them as affluent; they dress nicely, drive luxury cars and the females carry designer handbags. When Glass transmits an alert, even if the police are too late, they at least have a video of the killer’s mug.

Paradigm Shift

The advent of Google Glass in the real estate industry is forcing a paradigm shift—a new and necessary technology—and a new approach to buying, selling, financing and owning real property. Any realtor who fails to embrace the technology, or even delays implementation, can no longer compete. Every agent needs Glass and brokers need to equip every serious buying prospect with it. Within a few years, of course, a majority of connected people will already own a device, since Glass has so much scope beyond real estate. Landlords and property managers will find Glass indispensable in vetting tenant applicants, as will mortgage bankers when interviewing prospects for home loans.

When Real People Get on Board

The few million early adopters of Google Glass will pay the $1,500 asking price, but the users who buy the half billion units sold by 2018 won’t. In a tweet to @Dannysullivan, founder of marketingland.com, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley posted, “Until [middle class] ‘real people’ are wearing them, don’t expect Foursquare to be coming to Google’s smart eyewear.”