Several weeks ago, when I noticed that there STILL is not a RainCamp scheduled for Atlanta, I signed up for a seminar presented by The Google Academy on "Using Google for Real Estate" and the "2010 Google AdWords/SEO Seminar." How could I go wrong? Today was the day.
The entire morning session was spent on Google's G-mail. Of course, our instructor touched on the basics of G-mail, the Google tool bar and a few of Google's unique features (weather, stock quotes, time, sports scores, airline travel info, etc.,) One of the most interesting things we learned in this morning's session was that, once you are using Google G-mail, your data is no longer stored on your computer but on "the cloud." (I'm assuming "the cloud" is somewhere near Mars, maybe to the right of Pluto.) The cloud stores data FOREVER. If When your computer crashes, if you are using G-Mail, the data is never lost. That sounds good to me.
Next, here are a few great Google services that I was unaware of. If you're not using then, you should start immediately. I certainly will:
- Google's Free 411 Information Service - 1-800-466-4411. Never again call 411 to get a number, which you'll be charged for. Plug this number into your cell phone now.
- Google SMS for your cell phone. First, text "help" to 466453 from your cell phone, then it will register in your system. This is the number for Google SMS. Shoot them a text any time you are looking for a pizza place (text "pizza" and your zip code), flight information (type DL or the airline code and flight number), or whatever info. you need and it will come right back to you within seconds. In class I typed "weather" and my zip code. Within about 20 seconds I had a weather report for my area for the next 3 days!
- ChaCha Assistant - This is so cool! With ChaCha you can ask any question in conversational English and receive an accurate answer in a text message. You can either text your question to 242242 (spells "ChaCha") or call 1-800-224-2242. Amaze all your friends at the next office party with your unlimited knowledge!
Okay, I'm realizing this is going to be way too long if I share everything, so I'll cut to the chase. We then went on to Google Docs (again, where everything is saved to "the cloud" for infinity and beyond), Google Blogger, Google Picasa, UTube (which is owned by Google), and on and on and on. We all had headaches by lunchtime. But here is what blew us ALL away.
How many of you know that your smart phones have scanners built in? No? I didn't either, but they do. You will need to download a free app to use it, like "scanlife," but the technology is there. (Have you seen the commercial where the couple scans their checks from their smart phones and deposits them without ever going near the bank? That's what wer're talking about.) Now, hold that thought for a moment.
Have you ever heard of a "QR-Code"? "QR" stands for "quick response." With the scanner that's built into your smart phone, you can scan any bar code, or QR-Code, and receive a transmittal of information. The bar code will tell your smart phone how much the item costs there in the store, but also how much the same item costs in several other stores. Instant price check! But here's the amazing thing. A QR-Code can link to 1) a website, 2) video hosted on a website, or 3) text information. The QR-Code provides additional information to the tech-savvy person who is seeking it.
Okay, so what's the application for you, the Realtor? How about affixing a QR-Code to your Realtor signs? The buyer drives down the street, sees the home you have listed and wants more info, but can't get into the home at the moment. What's a buyer to do? He whips out his smart phone, scans the code which you have linked to a virtual tour, and views the virtual tour on his phone instantly. Or maybe you have a QR-Code that's linked to Google Maps. Or, if you're a stager like me, you might produce a brochure with a code on it that's linked to a slide show of your most recent staging job. Wow! For more information and to see an example of a QR-Code, here's a link to the Fast Signs website. Check it out. The possibilities are endless. QRStuff.com is another good site on the subject.
There's lots more I took notes on that I'd like to share with you, but I'm tired of typing and you're probably tired of reading. While The Google Academy was great and I heard much more than I could process, I'm still pining away after RainCamp. Somebody toss me an umbrella!