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.
Fremont is a free service in which people contribute listings, whether its about a couch for sale or someone looking for a commuting partner.
Microsoft plans to index each item, thereby adding it to the results from using Microsofts Internet search engine.
The software giant will enhance the Fremont listings with localized maps, and make them available through Microsofts newly revamped Internet portal, now known as Live.com, according to the company.
While created to serve primarily as an online marketplace, Fremont, and similar initiatives pre-dating it, serve a much broader purpose.
Each of these Web sites represents a way for individuals or businesses without any Internet presence to become more visible to to the Internet-using community.
For a business or individual, it means taking part in the growing amount of online commerce. From an Internet search providers perspective, introducing these facets means more Web pages to sell ads on.
Glimpses of Fremont are available by pointing a Web browser to fremont.live.com. However, Microsoft said Tuesday the service itself is for now only open to some Microsoft employees.
Microsoft plans the first public test sometime later this month, according to a Microsoft spokeswoman.
The Microsoft initiative emerges a few weeks after Internet search market leader Google Inc. introduced its own listings service, known as Google Base. Both Google Base and Fremont share many of the same attributes.
Google and Microsoft are borrowing heavily from Internet luminary Craig Newmark, whose Web site Craigslist is one of the first to make room for those without a significant Web presence.
Given the hyper-competitive nature of the Internet search market, its likely that leading Internet company Yahoo Inc., which has the number two ranked Internet search engine, will respond with something similar.
The Fremont initiative was initially reported by the Web site Techcrunch.