Google and eBay Announce Major Connectivity Agreement

In a press release issued this morning, Google and eBay announced an agreement which comprises “two primary components involving text-based advertising and “click-to-call” advertising functionality”;.In the course of the press release there are several implications for Skype; however, let me draw attention to where Skype already has incorporated Google searches, namely, as an option in the search icon of the Skype Toolbar for Internet Explorer and Skype Toolbar for Firefox:

Other options in this Skype Toolbar’s search element include Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, eBay and Shopping.com.

Lisa Leff at AP provides a good overview; combined with the press release we can see the following implications for Skype:

  • Google will become the exclusive provider of text-based advertising for eBay outside the U.S. This complements the Yahoo-eBay deal last June that applies only to the U.S.
  • “Click-to-call” integration involves both eBay and Google platforms worldwide “using Skype or Google Talk”. It remains to be seen how this will play out but certainly with over 100 million registered users, we can see where Skype’s strength lies here.
  • Skype will soon offer its users an option to download the Google Toolbar to which Skype will add a custom button. Probably won’t look a lot different from the Skype Toolbar for IE or FF shown above.
  • The most interesting comment from a Skype observer’s viewpoint is the statement: “The companies will also explore interoperability between Skype and Google Talk via open standards to enable text chat and online presence.” Does this mean that Skype will execute on its opportunity for IM Federation Leadership and take up Alec Saunders’ challenge issued when the Skype code cracking story broke:

Skype should take a leadership position in publishing those protocols, and encourage others to build upon them. The Skype client becomes the first, and possibly the best, way to use the Skype protocol, but not the only way.

This agreement also recognizes the “international” aspect of Skype with over 72% of all users having registered a language other than English as their primary language:

  • Skype has developed a universal Phone Number Recognition API component that Skypifies any phone number recognized on a web page or in an e-mail. In fact the PNR has been incorporated not only into all the Skype Toolbars but also into the latest release of Skype (ever wonder why you now see a flag associated with phone numbers in Skype 2.5?).
  • Skype has just announced a localization support utility for its third party developers comprising a list of more than 2600 phrases translated into Skype’s 27 supported languages.

Today Alec hypothesized on where the money is in “Click-to-Call”. Jaanus Kase, Skype’s Chief Blogging Office, has commented on the interoperability item above. Andy has thrown in his perspective, including what he hears about Google’s “weak” pursuit of PSTN termination. I’m sure we’ll see lots of other coverage, especially given I first heard the story on various morning television shows that are viewed at my fitness club. However, the final proof of this agreement’s value and impact is going to take a few years to play out.

About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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