Zillow is a home and real estate marketplace dedicated to helping homeowners, home buyers, sellers, renters, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, landlords, and property managers find and share vital information about homes, real estate and mortgages. We recently had a chance to speak with Steve Perrin, Mobile Development Manager at Zillow, and Leo Liang, Sr. Software Development Engineer at Zillow, to get their feedback on working with Amazon to power their marketplace via Amazon Web Services and to distribute their apps via Kindle Fire tablets and the Amazon Apps mobile client.
Powering Zillow with AWS
With Amazon Web Services, Zillow uses a combination of SQS (SimpleQueue Service) for processing, S3 for storage, Elasticache for scalability, and ELB for server load balancing. In addition, they use EC2 as an on-demand service whenever they update their Zestimate algorithm. “We love the simple API and comprehensive set of solutions in the cloud stack that AWS provides,helping us get things done quickly at every product stage,” Leo said.
When it came time for Zillow to choose between service providers, they chose AWS for their reliability, flexibility and support. Leo noted that “in addition to not being limited to any particular development platform, AWS provides EC2 instances on-demand, and a comprehensive cloud stack that helps get things done quickly and with high quality, while keeping future scalability in mind.”
Distributing Zillow on Kindle Fire
When Amazon launched the Kindle Fire, the Zillow team was quick to optimize their Android app with the new tablet. “It was important to Zillow that our apps worked well on the Kindle Fire since it was a competitive addition to the tablet landscape.” Mobile devices make up 40% of Zillow’s traffic, which grows to more than 50% on weekends. The team followed up by working closely with Amazon in preparation for the launch of the new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD this fall. Steve was able to implement the new AmazonMaps API quickly, thanks to a compatible API that fully met their needs.
Optimizing an Android application for a tablet is more than just stretching the UI, and Zillow has defined a layout that works well on the Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9” device. As well as Maps, their app leverages Location Services and has enhanced performance for the PowerVR GPU. Says Steve, “The best thing about working with Amazon’s Mobile App Distribution Program is the great support that we receive from Amazon’s team. They’ve been extremely helpful in getting our apps optimized for the Kindle Fire HD. In addition, their new Maps API was easy to integrate, and made it easy for us to give our users a great map experience on Kindle Fire HD.”
Zillow Real Estate is available on Kindle Fire tablets and the Amazon Apps mobile client.