For the first time in Online Marketplaces history, a news story opens by referencing Pokémon GO.
The smash hit, launched in 2016, tapped into game-changing augmented reality tech developed by American software developer Niantic.
But after Niantic released its "Lightship" platform in November 2021, the tech that powered Pokémon GO has now been picked up by Lifull, Japan's leading property portal, which has developed its own take on Augmented Reality for its customers, including a patented 3D floor plan system.
Dubbed "Finding Serendipity" by Lifull, the new app lets home-searchers walking the streets of Tokyo use AR to find the 'little things' that make a local neighbourhood attractive. The app is a new home-search experience that fuses everyday town walking and home-searching to provide information at a time that is close to the user's feelings.
In a story posted on Lifull's website, the portal says Finding Serendipity is an AR platform that users discover wonderful "coincidences" that they would not have been able to find on their own. The app collates users' favourite attractions and emotions and displays them overlaid on the scenery, like an interactive walking tour. Users can record or draw their reactions to a point of interest
Lifull also says it wants "to become an AR platform where people who visit or live there for the first time can 'accidentally' encounter the wonderful charm of a new town that they have not noticed before."
Users can set up preferences including their hobbies or property features they want for their next home, they will receive a notification through Finding Serendipity for nearby locations that match their preferences.
Interestingly, the app has been optimized for 'smart glasses' instead of smartphone.
Hiromasa Hosoya, Project Leader for Lifull's Research and Design Group, said:
"The main point of this application is that it is not intended for use on smartphones. Instead of forcibly overcoming the barriers that smartphones face, such as "can't use while walking" and "you have to take out the device and hold the camera over before performing an action" that AR apps that aim for daily use, AR
"I decided to make a project that looks ahead to the future where 'glass' has spread." [translated from Japanese]
Lifull is running a public trial period of the technology, with space for up to 10,000 testers in Japan.
Finding Serendipity isn't Lifull's first foray into augmented and virtual reality this year. In July this year, the portal released a virtual reality app that lets users take control of their house search remotely earlier this year. Flying Homes-kun BETA lets users 'fly' around digital twins of cities in Japan and virtually tour properties based on accurate floor plans.