eBay’s dedicated development centre at Bengaluru seems to be churning out some good stuff. And as an outcome of that, the company has decided to export some of the technology developed at the centre to other countries.
The most prominent example of an eBay service developed in India is PaisaPay, the payment system eBay has come to rely upon ever since it spun off PayPal as an independent entity.
The modus operandi of PaisaPay is pretty similar to what to had with PayPal. While shopping online, the money is transfered to a temporary account until the customer receives the item. Once that happens and the receipt is confirmed, the money is released to the seller.
eBay’s reliance on the service has increased of late and apparently, the company has begun thinking of it as a viable replacement for PayPal. With that in mind, PaisaPay may soon be exported to other countries as well.
Speaking on the topic, eBay chief technology officer Steve Fisher told Mint,
PaisaPay is the trust infrastructure that we built for the India market. There are other countries in the world which have similar needs, so we are starting to examine how we can take those kinds of inventions to other countries.
This is particularly interesting because until very recently, we had PayPal and so payments was kind of what PayPal did. Now, we don’t have PayPal anymore. We are still obviously huge supporters of PayPal, but there are opportunities to do more.
So yes, PaisaPay may soon be handling currencies besides the Indian rupee. Meanwhile, the company has also started working upon search and password, two plain points for eBay.
You don’t think of identity and passwords as an area for innovation, but actually it is. We are moving into the era of mobile phones, so do we even need a password anymore? So, we are experimenting with ideas like that and that’s happening here in India.
Well, suddenly everything seems to be happening in India — or rather, from it. The only thing that we can say to eBay’s sudden rush of energy is ‘about time’. The company was one of the earliest pioneers in its niche in the country, but since then, has lagged behind competition.
eBay is also looking to smarten up its search modules for enhanced, data driven recommendations.
The issue with search is that usually, items are catalogued according to specific terms that make it easier for a search engine to recommend them at relevant places. However, because eBay’s technology often end up confused between the thousands of sellers, hundreds of millions of users, and the over 800 million available, items can get indexed with several different names.
Fischer attributed the issue to a lack of structured data.
If you want to buy anything, you can probably find it on eBay, and we probably answer that better than anyone else. That’s kind of our core strength. The core challenge we have is, we mostly don’t know what we have. That’s because of the lack of structured data, and given that we don’t really know what we have, it makes it very difficult to give a great experience.
The company is now rolling out modules in several countries, to take care of the issue. The modules will not only fix the issue but also improve the websites ranking and visibity in Google search.
most of the way people interact with us is through search, that means that other websites can’t really point to persistent pages, URLs on eBay and that, particularly, is difficult because there are search engines that don’t really send you any traffic if they don’t really have anything persistent to index. This is not the core reason we are doing this, but this is a pretty big deal.
And eBay needs to ruffle up its gloves there and elsewhere. Competition has been on the high and the company has been finding its market share nabbed by competitors, even though they are arriving later to the scene.
eBay’s clunky app is a great example of why good things — or particularly good things — aren’t happening with it in India. While other corporations are busy customizing their apps to suit the subcontinent, eBay’s app is quite similar to what it offers in the US.
Amazon for example, which kicked off its Indian operation only in 2013, has already managed to capture a significant user base. Let’s hope that the changes and improvements eBay is planning to bring, turn things towards the better, in its favour.