The latest chapter in the often-fantastic saga of Google Inc. is now
out. This time, it’s about how Google plans to crush eBay Inc.
On Wednesday, a screen shot of a Google beta, or test, service called
Google Base began circulating via blogs and news stories. There aren’t
many details on the page, which has since been removed but is still
available in screen shot form on various Web sites. The page encourages
visitors to post items on Google Base, defined by the company as a
database where Google offers to host all types of content, making the
content searchable online.
As an example, Google suggests that users can list a used car for sale
and also suggests that users can post “descriptions of your
party-planning service” or a “database of protein structures.”
It’s the used car example that seems to have led many onlookers to
imagine that Google is planning to encroach on eBay’s space. However,
the Google Base Web page makes no mention of an auction or online sales
capability. In addition to the eBay auction site, eBay also runs
classified ad Web sites and is part-owner of Craigslist.org, a Web site
that includes classified listings.
In a posting on Google’s blog, Tom Oliveri, a product marketing manager
at Google, wrote that Google is indeed testing a new way for content
owners to submit their content to Google. He writes that Google will
release more details when there’s more news. The post runs under the
headline “Rumor of the day.”
A service like Google Base might make sense in Google’s overall plan,
though it’s hard to know with just the bare details that are available
so far, said Joe Wilcox, senior analyst at Jupiter Research. “Too many
people think Google is a search company, but it’s not. It’s about
providing access to information,” he said. If Google Base allows Google
to receive content directly from users and index and catalog it, the
company can do a better job of providing access to it, he said.
Google’s activities are under more scrutiny then ever since its
financial results continue to improve dramatically. Last week, the
company reported that its revenue nearly doubled in the third quarter
this year compared to last year. On Wednesday morning, Google shares
(ticker symbol: GOOG) were trading at more than US$353, above its
52-week high of $349.30.
By Nancy Gohring – IDG News Service (Dublin Bureau)