Google Base: A New Rival for eBay and Craigslist?
Posted by: Rob Hof on October 25, 2005
ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo notes that some folks in Europe caught a screen shot of Google Base, which looks to be a potential rival to eBay, before Google apparently took it down. It actually sounds like more than that from the description on the page: “Google Base is Google’s database into which you can add all sort of content. We’ll host your content and make it searchable online for free.” It provides examples, from “listing of your used car for sale” to “database of protein structures.”
Of course, the latter one wouldn’t exactly be a top seller on eBay, but the Webforce blog shows a screenshot of a pretty detailed form for listing real estate. The New Google Blog, with no attribution, suggests Google Base might be introduced today at Google’s invite-only Zeitgeist conference.
Actually, it sounds like it might be as much a rival to Craigslist as eBay. Either way, though—
assuming it’s real—it will require many more pieces to be in place, such as payment and reputation systems. Wouldn’t put it past Google to give it all a shot, but it could be a good long while before Google Base makes headway against the finely tuned franchises of eBay and Craigslist.
UPDATE: Scot has some more clues and interesting thoughts on what Google Base could mean for eBayers. (As do we in our story.) Although Google Base no doubt will give eBay plenty to chew on, I still think Google has something a little different in mind. Besides the name, which doesn’t even suggest an overt focus on commerce, the breadth of categories that Google lists suggests it may be focused on the broader market for local ads—not just classifieds but Yellow Pages and radio ads, which often are from local services. Increasingly, eBay is targeting those as well, with its acquisitions of Rent.com and Shopping.com and its own classified-ad forays. So if Google is successful here—and that’s a very big if (Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, for one, doesn’t think much of the idea)—newspapers and radio stations may have even more to worry about than eBay. Forrester’s Charlene Li thinks there’s even a bigger picture.
If you really want to dig in to the coverage, Search Engine Lowdown has an extensive list.