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Microsoft Corp. said it is readying an online marketplace, code-named Fremont, which is apparently in response to a similar feature that rival Google Inc. introduced a few weeks ago.

Fremont is a free service in which people contribute listings, whether it’s about a couch for sale or someone looking for a commuting partner.

Microsoft plans to index each item, thereby adding it to the results from using Microsoft’s Internet search engine.

The software giant will enhance the Fremont listings with localized maps, and make them available through Microsoft’s newly revamped Internet portal, now known as, according to the company.

While created to serve primarily as an online marketplace, Fremont, and similar initiatives pre-dating it, serve a much broader purpose.

Google takes wraps off listings service. Click here to read more.

Each of these Web sites represents a way for individuals or businesses without any Internet presence to become more visible to to the Internet-using community.

For a business or individual, it means taking part in the growing amount of online commerce. From an Internet search provider’s perspective, introducing these facets means more Web pages to sell ads on.

Glimpses of Fremont are available by pointing a Web browser to However, Microsoft said Tuesday the service itself is for now only open to some Microsoft employees.

Read the full story on Microsoft Testing Its Own ‘Google Base’