All Posts Tagged With: "ebay"

Chroming at Google with Sergey

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.)

eBay Chrome Extension Demo from Tifton Drive Productions on Vimeo.

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.)

Adam prepping before the Chrome event

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. :)

eBay Search Results Speculation

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, 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.”

Look familiar?

Imitation == Flattery

As most of you know, I work in the cut-throat world of web services. Us evangelists are always jockeying for the best developers, and we’ll take any advantage we can. No holds are (Jeff) barred. If you come up with a good edge, you better use it before someone tries to take it away.

For example, at this year’s ETech, I broke through with a killer presentation titled: “eBay Web Services: A Marketplace Platform for Fun and Profit.”

Knowing a good thing when he sees it, Patrick from Google tries to respond at this month’s ZendCon with: “Scrub (Ajax), Wash (SOAP) and REST: use Google Checkout and AdWords APIs with PHP for fun and profit.”


In my role as eBay Platform Evangelist, I spend a lot of time exploring different XML technologies.

SOAP is obviously the big one. I use the PHP 5 ext/soap extension, which is great, but there’s actually another PHP SOAP extension that might be even better. No, it’s not PEAR::SOAP or NuSOAP; it’s axis2.

PHP 5 + COM + Skype Help Wanted

This is a help wanted ad. Any assistance would be much appreciated.

I’m trying to use PHP 5.2 to talk to Skype via the COM extension and Skype4COM interface.

I’m using this example from the Skype Forum, but I get a COM exception of “Skype client is not installed.”

However, I do have Skype on my machine and I’m not the only one with this problem, so I don’t think I’m completely crazy.

Unfortunately, I don’t normally develop on Windows or Skype, so it’s very hard for me to debug the COM extension. If anyone has some pointers on where I should start, it would be very useful. Thanks!

eBay Category of the Week: Tokens: Transit

I just found out we have a category called “Exonumia.” That was news to me, as I didn’t even know there was a word called exonumia.

You probably use exonumia on a regular basis, without even knowing. What is it? To quote Wikipedia:

Items such as bus tokens (transportation tokens), bar or pub tokens, and casino tokens or chips are some of the more common forms of exonumia.

We have a number of Exonumia subcategories. I think my favorite is “Transit Tokens”.

But “So-Called Dollars” is not a bad one, either.

I love eBay.

Fall 2006 PHP Speaking Calendar

I have a number of PHP related speaking gigs coming up:

eBay Developer Program: Needs Biz Dev Techie

The group at eBay where I work, the Developers Program, is looking to hire a biz dev person that’s also at least a little techie.

Here’s the key requirements:

  • Work with eBay’s Internet Marketing and Product Management teams to define and enable third-party development of applications to drive activity to
  • Evangelize and communicate the benefits of developing on the eBay Platform using our Application Programming Interface (API) and other web services to third parties (primarily affiliates) through conference appearances, one-on-one interaction and personal innovation.
  • Maintain and continue to develop/streamline the platform access infrastructure for third parties.

And here’s the full description. (If that link doesn’t work, go to and search for job “12439BR”.)

If you’re interested, please e-mail me. The domain is “” and my username is “atrachtenberg”.