Google’s been writing their own web browser: Google Chrome. Recently, the Chrome team hosted a launch party at the Googleplex to celebrate the release of Chrome beta versions for Mac and Linux, and also the beta launch of Chrome extensions.
With Chrome extensions, developers from outside Google can write software to modify the Chrome experience. Individuals can install these extensions to enable features that are useful to them, but aren’t necessarily of value to everyone who uses Chrome. (Those features are part of what Google will provide.)
A team at eBay has been working on an eBay Chrome extension (what else?), and apparently the Chrome team liked it so much they asked us to come and show-off the eBay extension at their launch event!
Unfortunately, the team lives in London, so they couldn’t fly all the way to California to be there. However, they passed the ball to me, and I agreed to be their talking head for a day.
Overall, my five minutes of Chrome fame went quite well. I talked about why Chrome extensions matter to eBay and also how third party developers can build their own eBay extensions, too. Also, as someone said to me: “they laughed at your jokes.”
But don’t take my word. My wife Beth joined me for the afternoon and took this beautiful flip HD video of my talk. (Warning: the sound is a little low.)
Now, as to the Sergey teaser in my headline…
While we were in the event space getting ready for everyone to come in, I looked up and saw a robot heading out of the corner of my eye. It looked like a small screen mounted on a skinny pole that itself was mounted on a wider base of wheels. (Think of a less human looking version of Number 5 from Short Circuit.)
All of a sudden the robot wheeled our way and we could see that there was a TV screen on the top (along with a WiFi router on the back side). Looking at us through the screen were two people. One of whom was Sergey Brin.
Before we could properly process any of those facts — as my post cannot recreate the surrealism of the experience — Sergey started talking and asking us questions. We realized the was a video camera mounted on top of the TV screen, so we were involved in a two-way video chat with Sergey, who was in his office, driving the robot around, and looking for people to talk with.
After some short chitchat, we almost got him to stay for the event, but it was still 30 minutes before kick-off, so he rode off in search of other projects.
After he left, someone else from Google came up to us and said “What did you think?” My reply: It was very on brand — exactly what I expected to find when I came here. :)
One of the great things about working at eBay is reading the various speculations on the Internets about what’s going on inside the company and seeing how closely it matches up to reality.
I don’t normally comment on these discussions, but there’s a pretty good one right now that I’m enjoying on the screen shot posted under the title a “new split screen GUI” view of eBay.
According to a comment, one person thinks this is some super-secret screen capture ferreted out by someone under NDA. Scot Wingo thinks this is a “snagged screen shot” of a special test “roaming around the playground.”
As usual, the reality is far more mundane. Since the evidence is posted publicly on eBay.com, I’m happy to debunk this.
Go to the eBay investor Web site and check out the “Boston Lunch Presentation” from February 1. (This deck is identical to New York lunch presentation from the day before.) Go to slide 14 “New approach to Fixed Price and Auctions: Early prototype.”
My travel schedule this fall has been absolutely nuts.
In September, I was in Kansas City and Seattle; so far in October, I’ve been to Austin and Washington, DC, with a conference in San Francisco, thrown in for good measure in between.
On Monday, I leave DC for three days in Las Vegas, come back to speak at a show in San Jose, where we will be exhibiting, and then leave for a weekend in Orlando nine days later.
For reasons of sanity, I will not be going anywhere for Thanksgiving.