November 24, 2005
Blogger Greg Yardley posted images of a new Google service called Google Click-to-Call, along with a link to the FAQs page on Google . A phone icon appears next to certain advertisements allowing viewers to contact the advertiser by phone at no charge .
Business 2.0 senior writer Om Malik pointed to the Yardley post on his blog and wrote that he believes the new ad-system will allow Google to compete with eBay-Skype . Skype uses VoIP technology, and it's not clear what technology the Google system uses.
eBay paid $2.6 billion plus potential performance-based consideration for Skype last month and said at the time it was interested in Pay-Per-Call lead-generation opportunities , as well as helping it gain traction in China, where it faces stiff competition from Alibaba.com.
Alibaba has been using an integrated messaging service in its online auction marketplaces since 2003. Alibaba spokesperson Porter Erisman said Alibaba is now the third largest provider of instant messaging (IM) services in China, behind Tencent and MSN. "We honestly believe that eBay's decision to buy Skype was largely driven by what they saw happen with the growth of IM on our sites," Erisman said.
Google is also rumored to be launching an online payment service that could compete with eBay's PayPal service, and recently launched Google Base, a service that could compete with online classifieds sites.
As well as competing for customers, top technology companies are also competing for engineers, according to yesterday's Wall Street Journal ("Google ignites Silicon Valley hiring frenzy," By Pui-Wing Tam and Kevin J. Delaney,http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05327/611384.stm). The Journal reports that eBay has lost 10 to 20 technologists to Google since the start of the year.