- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Google Inc., the world’s most-used Internet search engine, is testing a service that may let users sell content and products online, posing a threat to EBay Inc., the biggest Web-auction company.

Google is testing ways for people to send content to the company’s Web sites, spokeswoman Eileen Rodriguez said yesterday through e-mail.

Tests of the Web site called Google Base look like an online marketplace similar to EBay’s, Bear Stearns Cos. analyst Robert Peck said yesterday in a note.

A product to help people sell content or items online would broaden the Mountain View, Calif., company’s reach, encroaching on EBay, Web-listing service Craigslist.org and newspaper classified advertisements. Google Base also may give Google’s Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt a new way to tap the company’s base of 400 million monthly users for revenue.

“They have traffic, they have audience and they have patience, which is something that is in short supply at newspapers,” Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of Orlando, Fla., company Classified Intelligence LLC, said of Google. Mr. Zollman said he expects a Google classified-advertisement service to be released before the end of the year.

Mr. Schmidt in June said that Google was developing an online payment service. EBay’s PayPal is currently the most-used Internet payment system.

EBay shares, which have declined 35 percent this year, fell $1.41 to $38.01 on the Nasdaq. Google shares grew $1.74 to $346.91, giving the stock an 80 percent increase for the year.

Mr. Peck’s report cited screen shots of Google Base from a Web log, which showed a page that let users input details of a product for sale.

“Google Base is Google’s database into which you can add all types of content. We’ll host your content and make it searchable for free,” the site says, according to the screen shots cited by Mr. Peck and UBS AG analyst Benjamin Schachter.

Mr. Peck wasn’t available for an interview.

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