GarageBuy basically, takes data from eBay and lets you access it using a bespoke, desktop client. This is an odd concept. After all, eBay is one of the world’s most successful websites – robust, reliable and usability tested to the point of destruction. It’s also an interesting time for web applications, with more and more productivity tools appearing in online incarnations.
But GarageBuy works. Perhaps it’s the unique nature of eBay; the complexity of the process, that lends itself to a desktop revamp. After a tricky installation procedure that requires the acquisition of a security token from eBay, you’re dropped into a simple, single window interface. A search box in the top-left corner is where the adventure begins. Enter keywords for items you want to shop for to begin. When the program returns your results, you’re asked to refine them by category – an immediate improvement over eBay online.
From there, you can click a button to place a bid, or watch an item – just like eBay online. The main difference is that you don’t have to scroll around looking for the links. One interesting feature is that you can create iCal events within the tool, triggering a reminder when an auction is about to end. The ability to save searches is handy too. The program also keeps constant track of your items, telling you when new bids come in on watched items.
Overall, though, we’re not entirely convinced that GarageBuy is that much better than logging into eBay. The listings themselves look cramped and tabbing between images and descriptions is a hassle. This is a good idea that needs better execution.