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eBay Debuts New Local Shopping Site

Today eBay has launched its new local shopping site called GiftsNearby, while Google continues to hunt for a local e-commerce service after its $6 billion buyout offer was rejected by coupon site Groupon earlier this month.

The new eBay site integrates technology from eBay’s acquisition of Milo.com, a local shopping startup bought by the auction giant for $75 million at the beginning of December. Milo, which calls itself the “anti-Amazon” helps consumers spot local deals in real-time by tracking the product inventory at over 50,000 stores.

eBay Goes Local with Milo-Powered GiftsNearby

Milo’s retailer partner list includes ?several big names like Target, Macy’s , Sears, JCPenney, Nordstrom, IKEA, RadioShack, Best Buy, Borders, Barnes & Noble, The Home Depot, EBGames, Gamestop, Finish Line, Toys R Us, Lowe’s, Ann Taylor and others. The company touted 140 retail partners at the time of its acquisition.

Now, only weeks later, eBay has launched its first major integration of Milo’s technology into an eBay property at giftsnearby.ebay.com. The new site shows popular holiday gift items from local stores either in or near a user’s zip code.

Best Buy has stepped up as a launch partner with the site, offering GiftsNearby shoppers the ability to purchase the item online through the website for pick up at a local store. It’s the only store at present with this option.

As for the user experience, it’s pretty good, for what was clearly quick and dirty pre-holiday launch. However, the site lagged at times for us, and then failed to load our local deals on the last refresh. You mileage may vary – we tested on Google Chrome, and not even on all versions (e.g. stable, beta, developer, Canary, etc.)

Local Shopping Heats Up

This isn’t the only integration of Milo’s technology – eBay recently added local search results to its RedLaser barcode scanning application (another 2010 acquisition) which works on both iPhone and Android mobile platforms. eBay says that GiftsNearby marks the company’s “first” e-commerce integration with Milo, a statement that indicates there’s more to come.

In 2011, expect to see the local shopping scene heat up even more. eBay now has Milo, Amazon invested $183 million in LivingSocial, another local deals site with Groupon-like aspirations, and Groupon itself will no doubt continue to grow after passing on Google’s buyout offer. Meanwhile, Google is sure to pick up a Groupon clone soon enough (BuyWithMe is said to be on the short list), and by the looks of our email inbox, every startup peddling local deals hopes to be the one Google chooses.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the fruits of this localized e-commerce competition for your own holiday shopping purposes at GiftsNearby.ebay.com.

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