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eBay launches the "Collections" service, promising Pinterest with a difference

On Tuesday morning, eBay launched a new Pinterest-like feature called Collections, as well as a new section called Today, which highlights the best of what's on the site.

With Collections, you can set up a profile page and create groups of products you like, want, or recommend from the site's more than 500 million listed items. Your profile page shows the collections you have created, as well as the collections and people you follow.

When browsing items on eBay, you'll now see an "Add to collection" link on item pages underneath the "Add to cart" button. Once you find something that takes your fancy, click the "Add to collection" link. From there, you can select a collection you have already created, or start a new collection, then add a description of the item, and save it to your collection.

Your collections will be public on your eBay profile, though you can make them private on your profile page. When you're browsing through others' collections, you can easily add an item to one of your own using the star icon in the top left-corner of the item's photo.

EBay launched the new feature with 200 "expert curators," including singer-songwriters Solange Knowles and Pharrell Williams, designer and blogger Joy Cho, writer Kelly Oxford, and watch collector Benjamin Clymer, who have already created collections of items they like.

During a launch event in Manhattan on Tuesday, eBay CTO Mark Carges took a dig at Pinterest, noting that collections are "more than mood boards," because you can easily purchase items.

The feature comes after Amazon this summer quietly released a similar service, also dubbed Collections, which lets users visualise their wish lists with a Pinterest-like layout. Meanwhile, Pinterest last month started adding pricing and purchase information to certain pins.

With hundreds of millions of items available for purchase on eBay, it can be overwhelming to wade through all the stuff you don't like and pick something you actually want, eBay President Devin Wenig acknowledged on Tuesday. To highlight the most interesting items on the site, eBay has launched a new page called Today, which Wenig described as a "digital, shoppable magazine." Items on the page will be refreshed daily by eBay's new Chief Curator and Editorial Director, Michael Phillips Moskowitz.

Besides that, eBay on Tuesday also announced plans to expand its Now local commerce service to 25 markets by the end of 2014, including major metro areas in North America. The expansion started today in Chicago, and eBay will roll out the service in Dallas later this year, followed by select international markets, including London, in early 2014. The eBay Now service, introduced last October, offers hand-delivery of local products in about an hour for $5 (£3) per order.

Image: Flickr (liewcf)