Today in partnerships that I did not at all see coming, Zillow has announced the launch of a new plug-in for ChatGPT. It is called, as you might expect, the ChatGPT plug-in. And if you enable it, you will be able to do what you’d expect something called the Zillow ChatGPT plug-in to allow you to do: search for a house.
Specifically, those who have the plug-in enabled can tell ChatGPT what kind of property they’re looking to purchase or rent, sharing criteria like location, price, and bedroom count. ChatGPT will then dive into Zillow’s database and spit out some options for you.
The plug-in is available for “a select number of ChatGPT users today, with broader access anticipated in the future.” (I am very curious how on earth they will select these users. It’s very likely going to be folks with ChatGPT Plus since that’s usually who gets prioritized for plug-ins. But if it’s “people who spend lots of time browsing Zillow when they shouldn’t be,” I might have a shot. 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 immense potential, and we look forward to developing more tech innovations with OpenAI technology in the future.”
The announcement comes just a few months after Zillow launched its own “natural-language search” feature, which allows shoppers to enter conversational phrases into the website’s search bar to return results. At the time, Zillow bragged that it was “the first major residential real estate marketplace” to implement that sort of AI-powered search. Zillow has been focusing on growing its core business of house-browsing and pricing estimates after winding down its own house-purchasing program at the end of 2021.
Now, some of you may be wondering: Why might someone enter location, price, and the number of desired bedrooms into ChatGPT rather than, just for example, entering them directly into Zillow? To that, I say: shush. The ChatGPT plug-in is currently in its “alpha” testing phase (the one that comes before beta), meaning the version select users see today will be very far from the finished product. Testers will presumably send a lot of feedback about their needs and use cases, and we’ll see how useful this can be as we go.
I can only hope this will lead to some very funny stories as the internet uncovers the plug-in’s glitches and kinks. Will someone convince ChatGPT to sell them their own home, or the White House, or something else nonsensical? Only time will tell! Let’s ride.