Houzz – Transforming Homes into Augmented Reality Shopping Malls
In writing about Houzz I find myself referencing the Holodeck from Star Trek way too often, but with good reason – it’s simply the coolest sci-fi idea ever (and it’s coming – you know it is). With that disclaimer out of the way, here I go again. Imagine if you could look around your living room or bedroom and see a blank canvas in place of some things. Get rid of your couch, your chair, your dresser, or whatever you think is need of an upgrade or replacement without having to actually move it.
Imagine that you could virtually scroll through image after endless image of other living rooms or bedrooms, spot something in them that strikes your fancy, and then see that particular item in your Holodeck-enabled home. Old couch gone, the new one you saw in a picture sitting in its place. The idea makes the interior decorator in you get really excited. And that is pretty much what the home remodeling platform Houzz is allowing anyone and everyone to do now.
Houzz is becoming increasingly popular, with the Android version of their app being voted best app of the year in 2016. 400% sales growth year-over-year from 2015, and more than 40 million monthly unique users. The second part of the Holodeck comparison above comes in a feature launched earlier this year called View in My Room; which lets users take a product image from their catalog and place it in a photo of their own space to see what it would actually look like there.
The first part of the comparison was just launched and is called Visual Match. “People come to Houzz because they want to get everything they need to improve their homes in one place, from inspiration to execution,” said Alon Cohen, Houzz co-founder and president. “Visual Match makes it even easier for people to take action on inspiration, enabling them to view a photo in the Houzz app, tap a product in the photo that they love, and use View in My Room to see the product in their own space before purchasing.”
Houzz is home to 11 million high-quality home photos and its catalog contains 6 million products from 15,000 vendors. As users browse them, they can now click on an item within the image and Houzz will find the same product or a visually similar one and bring it up for them to see, price, and place in their own space using View in My Room. If you’ve ever thought that you had a knack for interior design and wanted to exploit that talent to create income, Houzz is your new best friend. It’s essentially the home decorating equivalent of Home Depot for home repair projects, but much better.
Beyond decorating for a living or simply redecorating your own home, Houzz might be an ideal job opportunity for anyone in the computer vision or augmented reality fields. These types of job opportunities seem to be sprouting like weeds in recent years, but a business that’s growing at the rate that Houzz seems to be (they don’t disclose their actual sales or revenue numbers) could move it to the top of your resume-sending list.