A spat that erupted this week between eBay and Google after Google tried to siphon attention from the online auctioneer's grand user celebration might presage more tension in one of the Internet's most interesting new rivalries.
EBay and Google have been close partners. Google feeds the text ads that appear on eBay's international sites. (Yahoo handles that for eBay's U.S. site). And the companies have been working on integrating aspects of the Google Talk voice-messaging software and the eBay-owned Skype Internet calling service.
EBay also is one of Google's largest advertisers, spending tens of millions of dollars a year on "keyword" ads that generate links to eBay listings when Google users type certain search terms.
At least until this week, when eBay pulled all its keyword ads from Google's U.S. site.
EBay seemed to be acting in protest of a party planned by the Google Checkout online payment service during this week's "eBay Live" event for about 9,000 of auction company's buyers and sellers. Google called its Boston affair "Let Freedom Ring" -- a reference to the fact that eBay, which owns rival PayPal, does not allow Google Checkout as a payment method.