Microsoft Corp. said it is readying an online marketplace, code-named Fremont, which is apparently in response to a similar feature that rival Google Inc. introduced a few weeks ago.See also my previous post, "Google Base and getting the crap out".
Fremont is a free service in which people contribute listings, whether it's about a couch for sale or someone looking for a commuting partner.
[Found on Findory]
Update: The news about Microsoft Fremont appears to have been first reported by Michael Arrington at TechCrunch. Congrats on the scoop, Mike.
Update: Todd Bishop at the Seattle PI gives us a longer article about Microsoft Fremont. It sounds like Microsoft intends to do some interesting social network stuff with it, allowing selling to your network of friends.
Update: A little fun trivia, Todd Bishop got confirmation that Microsoft Fremont is named after the Fremont community in Seattle, the "center of the universe."
Update: Charlene Li saw a demo of Microsoft Fremont and describes in some detail why she thinks "Microsoft's classifieds service will be better than Google Base." Most of her criticism centers around poor usability of Google Base for mainstream users.
However, at this point, Google Base is more of a database than a end-user product, literally a base on which to build. It probably underestimates the potential to evaluate it directly against Craigslist or other classified sites in its current form. We'll likely soon see new products launched with a more mainstream look-and-feel and better usability layered on top of Google Base.
Update: Danny Sullivan makes a similar point, that Microsoft Fremont/Craigslist should be compared to a later Google Classifieds product, not to Google Base.
Update: Four months later, Microsoft renamed Fremont to Windows Live Expo and launched it. It has no payment mechanism, requires MS Passport to use, and generally has the feel of free classifieds with some social networking goo thrown on top.
It is interesting to note that Google went the other direction with this, integrating a payment mechanism into Google Base. This makes Windows Live Expo (aka Fremont) look more like a competitor to Craigslist and Google Base more like a competitor to eBay, Amazon, and Yahoo Stores.