A wide range of opinions exists on whether all of the data Facebook has on its users is a good thing, but it could turn out to be a very good thing for Facebook users looking for places to live, as RentalRoost, a San Francisco Bay-area-based website that incorporates Facebook data into its rankings of available properties, prepares to go nationwide later this month.
RentalRoost allows users to browse available properties by traditional criteria, such as bedrooms, baths, and price, but it also offers listings by specific lifestyle criteria including school quality, kid-friendliness, transit, dining, shopping, arts and culture, and pet-friendliness.
The site even has an arrangement with GreatSchools for users with nearby schools as their top priorities.
So how does Facebook fit in? Co-Founder Vikram Raghavan spoke with AllFacebook about how he and Co-Founder and CEO Nitin Shingate incorporated the social network into their efforts:
We realized that more and more of our rental services originate on craigslist but end up on Facebook, with people trying to ask each other questions, and things like that.
We built a back-end big data stack that looks at your Facebook profile to figure out what type of person you are, looks at different neighborhoods in the city to determine what type of people live there, and looks at properties.
Raghavan added that RentalRoost uses Facebook authentication and does not pull any demographic data until users grant their permission, saying that the RentalRoost algorithm analyzes data based on users’ behavior, and offering the following example: If a user has checked in at restaurants with family members on several occasions, then family night is clearly important to that user.
RentalRoost also imports users’ Facebook friends so that if they have questions about specific areas, they can seek input from their friends who live in those areas.
Shingate said in a statement:
As professionals in the tech world, my co-founders and I had always found moving from one city to another very stressful. We realized that people unfamiliar with a new city would have a challenging time finding the right neighborhood, so we created a way to help people find homes based on their lifestyle and particular needs.
Readers: Will you explore using a website like RentalRoost the next time you relocate?