Google empire set to grow again?

There’s nothing like a good Google story to get the rumour mill churning and this time the speculation has Google gearing up to go head-to-head with Internet giant eBay.

The latest episode follows the discovery of a Google website that appeared to show a new database service called Google base. Google was quick to block access to the pages but screenshots are circulating across the web.

The site describes itself as, "Google's database into which you can add all types of content. We'll host your content and make it searchable online for free.” Suggested uses, according to the site, range from hosting scientific data to used car and real estate listings.

The ability to add classified listings has led some analysts to jump on the discovery as evidence that Google is ready to move into e-commerce and compete with eBay and classified listings sites such as Craigslist, which is part owned by eBay.

“Google is maybe striking at the heart of eBay by offering a perhaps free venue for individuals to list items for sale,” said Derek Brown, an analyst with Pacific Growth Equities and quoted in Red Herring. Such a move also has the potential to dovetail nicely with Google’s long-anticipated payment system.

Of course there could be an entirely different explanation and this is the view of Whit Andrews, a research vice president at Gartner. Speaking to Vnunet, Andrews believes Google base could be an online database for a wide range of information, which is used by software developers to power their applications.

Google was, however, refusing to pander to the rumours. Writing on the company’s official blog, Tom Oliveri, Product Marketing Manager wrote:

“You may have seen stories today reporting on a new product that we're testing, and speculating about our plans. Here's what's really going on. We are testing a new way for content owners to submit their content to Google, which we hope will complement existing methods such as our web crawl and Google Sitemaps. We think it's an exciting product, and we'll let you know when there's more news.”

Let the speculation continue...