We been busy looking for better ways of improving the over all experience to many of our tools and we recently just launched a new website which is already using our new clean map search tool.

We have taken the approach of making all that data and information pertaining to properties clean and modern looking.  This is one of the many enhancement you should find on various of our customers websites over the next couple of weeks.

Below are some screen shoots of these new looks and we hope that over the next few weeks we get to roll them out to our already existing customers websites.

Other tools and utilities that will be receiving new fresh looks are but not limited to:

  • Search Forms
  • MLS Search Results Pages.
  • Notification Services
  • Listing Website Pages
  • Interactive Responsive MLS Stats Data
  • and much more.

We hope to post these changes as we make them live on customer websites.   Below are some great screen shots of the new Interactive map search pages.

Map Search Luxury Portfolio

Map Search Miami Luxury Portfolio

Google recently announced a price reduction to their  Cloud Storage which brings on the cloud storage wars.   Well, it’s not really a war out there but more of a placement for the future of your online file storage.  There are lots of players in the market when it comes to online cloud storage and you likely have seen some of these or are currently using their services.   For example we use Dropbox and have been using them since they came online.   As a business we feel the value and convenience of the software makes its  a good choice, but when you consider that Google’s new pricing is 80% less than the competition you are left to wonder why not migrate right away?

Cloud storage regardless of the vendor you decide to engage with is more of a convenience to you and how you plan to use the cloud storage and how quickly can you switch to a new vendor.  We are going to explore why one solution maybe a better choice for you regardless of price, if price is your criteria, then we think Google is a no brainier and any other option makes it a tougher buy.

We mentioned earlier that we have been using Dropbox internally for a few years now.   We have enjoyed and have stored a large amount of data using their services, for us it’s more of an internal process of sharing documents and designs with out clients and our own staff.   It’s also helps us keep backups of our work in the event of a hard disk failure in any of our machines.    We think that the convenience of us engaging and sharing with out customers has helped us get large files from them and visa versa.    We have also extended Dropbox to work with other internal programs we use as well.   The simplicity of the software goes a long way and not to mentioned lot of our customers have already a Dropbox account.

Our drawback for Dropbox is the limitation of storage and the price that comes with it.   We pay our yearly fee because we store lots of data, but we know that with more time we are going to require even larger storage.   Unless Dropbox takes this new pricing model into consideration from Google’s Drive then we may pull the plug on Dropbox early just to be able to grow further with Google Drive without the cost.  The only reason we can’t switch to this new model is because of what we said earlier, that most of our clients are already on Dropbox and in doing so we have to wait for our customers to see the value to Google Drive, which brings us to our next point.

Google Drive is now 80% less at a monthly cost of $1.99/month for 100GB of storage.   Below is a pricing table depending on the storage needs you may need.

Storage Monthly Rate
100 GB $1.99
1 TB $9.99
10 TB $99.99
20 TB $199.99
30 TB $299.99

So, if we can’t switch all our efforts to Google drive without abandoning our customers, what can we do?  Our solution is quite simple, we can use both until we have a clear winner in the Market.

Regardless of who your choice, you have to decide on the factors that make the most sense to you and how you use these services.   For example, if you’re not collaborating your Dropbox with clients or taking advantages of the services potential, then switching to Google Drive is an easy choice, because you maybe just be using the services for storing your most important files on the cloud.   This means you likely are just using the services for internal storage and not so much the collaboration.   Both of these services have their terms of use and how you can use their services and what kind of information can be stored on their system.   As long as you don’t violate these services then you can continue to use their services.

We can’t predict who the clear winner is going to be in the online cloud storage business, but we see Google’s new price announcement as a clear offensive move to try to get you to use their online Cloud storage.     Dropbox, has a substantial lead on Google and Microsoft’s One Drive but only time will tell how users see this move by Google.   Microsoft can easily integrate their cloud storage with their products such as office and windows, and Google can as easily add these services to Android Devices and already existing products such as gmail, search, docs and so forth.  We did not mentioned Microsoft’s product on here but it’s as costly as Dropbox if not more.

So determine your individual needs and make the move that is best suited for you business, as an individual Realtor, we think that Google Drive is a no drainer, because the cost savings can be used for you to explore other forms of business tools that can help you grow.    You can hope that Dropbox sees this as a threat and reduces their price, but who knows if they consider Google a threat at this point.

 

 

Categories: Productivity Tools

The PC industry is in a little big of a pickle as a recent report by International Data Corporation or IDC suggest that overall shipment of computers declined -9.8% in 2013.   It was slightly less than the projected figure of -10.1%.   So why is this important for someone who is running a business online or utilizes the internet for a source of business?   The answer is quite simple, it affects the types of products or services you need to be offering online to your customers.

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The PC industry overall has been on a steady decline for many years now, and it did not help the industry much with the introduction of all sorts of new gadgets including the iphone, the ipad, and all sort of all new devices that have come into the market.   Now, consumers have a variety of choices and what used to be once a priority to upgrade and replace an old computer is been evaluated as maybe, we should buy a new tablet or ipad.  We are not suggesting that all replacements of computers are as direct cause of the ipad or iphone, but rather these new powerful devices offer consumers choices in which they can now experience the World Wide Web with.

We have been forward thinking with our customers and have devised and manage to stay ahead of the curb with certain projects, by making them be more friendly to all these new devices.   We model the idea of making a website adapt to the particular device that is viewing the website, because we know that consumers are no longer viewing your website via a desktop or laptop but through various different devices.   We were suggesting to customers in 2009 to start the revolution of mobile websites and applications so, that when the time came that mobile devices would be the majority of your internet website traffic, their website would be ahead of the industry.

It’s important to understand these changes in the market with regards to how consumers are now experiencing and consuming the World Wide Web, because the ultimate goal of any website is to keep consumers engaged no matter how they decide to visit your particular website.   We encourage that you ask questions regarding forward thinking implementations of any website project, so that you can truly understand if you are in par with the industry or ahead of industry.   We feel  that understanding how the industry is adjusting or moving is one more important thing we pay attention to when it comes to how and why we design your projects.   Talk to one of our representative today to get a free evaluation of your business and see how you are taking advantage of these changes or lagging behind in the industry.

 

office_productIn case you are not keeping up with the market, Microsoft recently made an announcement in which they hired a new CEO — Satya Nadella.   He is currently taking over the company in place of the former CEO Steve Ballmer.  This is exciting for some people because it brings about change for the company.  For many years now, we been promoting small business to use Google Apps, as a replacement to Microsoft Office. Google jump started the cloud revolution with these suite of online applications that allow user to collaborate online with word documents, spreadsheets and other applications.

The advantage we have seen Google is that they jump started this for all small business to take advantage of the free service.  The move was brilliant as thousands of small business where able to switch to this platform without incurring additional cost.   We feel that a Realtor or a brokerage can take advantage of these cost savings and use these tools that are free of charge.  We think that most consumers would likely never use all the functionality of a microsoft word or microsoft excel program.  The majority of individuals use these program for the bare basic.  Yes, there are some individual who we consider to be extreme users who will take advantage of the basic but those were few in between.

We won’t bore you with the details as to what makes an expert microsoft office user versus a novice user.   The point is that since Nadella, took over the realm at Microsoft we are seen small but subtle changes to take effect.   This is exciting for all consumers because it means we have healthy competition amongst these two giants.  In the end who knows which of these two will control the market when it comes to online applications, such as the use of these documents and spreadsheets online, but we all can agree that these application will be more of online application versus desktop applications.

What was just recently announced by Microsoft was the ability to use Office.com to collaborate online and create online documents using microsoft word, microsoft excel, microsoft powerpoint, microsoft outlook and various other services for free from Microsoft.  As a new generation of consumers enters the market, you will begin to receive and exchange documents online with the services from either Google or Microsoft.  These two companies will battle it out online to offer you features.   We feel that either choice is good choice because both offer the services for FREE.  The hope for either company is that once you learn either of their system is that you grow and continue to use them for many years to come.   One of these two players will dominate the market and only time will tell which of the two will control this realm online.   Google, has had an advantage because they have been doing this online collaboration for a few years now, and Microsoft jumped on board a few years after.   This means that the company who started could have learned along that way what makes the service or experience better for users, and the other was observing to see if it was even worth the effort to jump in.   In the end it comes down to simple math and if the product is profitable or not, and for Microsoft, Office is an extremely profitable software application and Google is a disruptor in which they are offering a service ahead of its time.

In summary you should hop on and try either Google Apps or Microsoft new office.com to see which of these two companies you will be using for a few years to come.  Microsoft in our eyes is hopping you can move from the office desktop edition to the online edition that is already familiar to you, while google hopes to engage you with their products and features.   The choice really going to depend on the volume of users who use either of these services and the one company that controls the masses will essentially control the market of online collaboration.   In the end you should take advantage of the revolution and see what works best for you.

We all have the ability to now save all our favorite documents on the Cloud.  Which is great for most of us to be able to go from any device and access these documents anytime and anywhere, but if you’re like me, where you spend a considerable amount of time inside of Gmail wouldn’t it be great to attach a document directly from the cloud right into an email?

Gmail now offers attachments right from Google Drive, which is an alternative to Dropbox and Sky Drive which offer similar functionality of storing your documents on the Cloud.  But what if you’re not using Google Drive and instead are using something like Dropbox or Sky Drive?  attachments.me is a cloud service that tightly integrates gmail with these services, thus saving you time and making you more productive throughout your day.

If you’re like most Realtors who use Dropbox to keep their contracts, forms, general brochures inside dropbox, you can now easily and quickly attach these documents to your email using attachments.me.   The service is currently FREE and does not cost you a thing to install.   If you use Google’s Chrome — you can download an extension for Gmail here or for those of you who are iOS lovers here is their iOS Application.

The product also offers other great features, such as easily and quickly get through all emails that contain attachments within your emails.   One feature that we like and we think Realtors can use, is the ability for it to remember to save all future attachments sent by a client to a specific folder with in dropbox.    In this way you will always be organized and know exactly where all documents sent by your client via emails are.

We built a similar feature that integrates your website directly with Dropbox and we think this feature is great if you want to extend your Documents from the cloud directly into Gmail.