Does eBay’s new Browser Highlighter bring us one step closer to true Skype integration?

By: Richard Brewer-Hay

eBay’s new Browser Highlighter went into public Beta in the US last night. The Browser Highlighter places “Compare on eBay” buttons on non-eBay pages where its users may be looking for products online. When clicked, the “Compare” buttons allow users to see live eBay listings without jumping between multiple sites. I also found it interesting that the tool includes a piece of Skype functionality, which allows users to place Skype calls by clicking on phone numbers in their browser … something that Skype has allowed for sometime now but is new with regard to direct eBay integration.

eBay Browser HighlighterIn a nut shell, once a user installs Browser Highlighter, an icon appears in the Internet address bar that when clicked, gives users the option to turn on the “Compare on eBay” feature and the “Skype Phone Number Recognition” feature.

The Browser Highlighter launch was covered exclusively by Don Reisinger of TechCrunch yesterday evening. The full article can be found here.

I downloaded the tool earlier this morning and am looking forward to playing with the Skype Phone Number Recognition feature. It represents a subtle but significant integration that I hope to see more of in the future. According to the Browser Highlighter team, while they are constantly iterating with Skype on our PNR functionality, they are not currently working on turning Skype usernames into clickable buttons. This is something they may explore down the road, but for right now, it is not part of the game plan. They also went on to stress that the tool is compatible with IE and Firefox browser for Windows operating systems only. They are exploring bringing the Browser Highlighter to Macs users but can’t commit to a timeframe right now.

Let me know what you think of this new feature. My Internet address bar has been cluttered for some time with special features that I rarely use so I’ll be interested to see if the tools that come with the Browser Highlighter are ones I use on a regular basis.

Cheers,
RBH