I’ve just been chatting with eBay but not in the manner you might expect. eBay ShopBot is now available on Google Assistant and can be activated by saying “Ask eBay….”. ShopBot launched on Facebook messenger so seeing it on Google is a new innovation.
It appears pretty limited at the moment, limited to asking about the price of a product and unfortunately although I’m based in the UK with a UK eBay account, ShopBot only gives prices in US dollars.
To get Google Assistant (an experience similar to Google Home) you’ll need the latest version Google Play Services running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later. When you start talking to eBay ShopBot on Google Assistant, the familiar Google ‘Bubbles’ are replaced with the eBay logo so you’re in no doubt which company is responding.
Unfortunately when talking to Google Assistant on my smartphone (downstairs in my kitchen) I can hear Google Home (upstairs in my bedroom) responding as well. The distance it can listen in and respond is impressive although in this instance somewhat annoying.
Currently the whole experience is a bit buggy, sometimes Google fails to fire up eBay and at other times eBay doesn’t always respond as expected. Plus as previously mentioned it appears to be accessing eBay.com and it would only really be of use to me if it was eBay UK that information was gathered from. It also doesn’t appear to be able to do much other than tell me the price I might expect for selling something.
This is early days though and what’s exciting is that it’s a new way to access eBay on a device and it’s the first time I’ve been able to interact with eBay in any manner using voice control. This is the future and it will be no surprise if in a few years time people stop searching using a browser or eBay app and start shopping on eBay using voice control.
It’s not here yet, but the first signs of being able to shop on eBay via voice is no longer wishful thinking but partway towards becoming reality.