• EBay last week introduced Image Cleanup, a computer vision tool, which removes the background of a seller’s listing photo and replaces it with a white background. The feature, which aims to optimise listings for Google Shopping, is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Australia, and will be rolled out in other regions in the next month.
  • Image Cleanup’s algorithm processes the photo on users’ mobile phones to remove the foreground from the background clutter and change the background to white, according to a company press release. The feature is aimed at small businesses and individual sellers who may not have a budget for a professional photographer, eBay said.
  • If the algorithm can easily distinguish between the foreground and the item, then users can either use the algorithm-generated image or edit the photos themselves, the company said.

The inclusion of the Image Cleanup tool is one of the most recent additions eBay has added to its platform in the past year. The e-commerce marketplace added Google Pay as a payment option last March. In June, the site unveiled AI personalization tools to help shoppers find items that aligned with their shopping habits.

The Image Cleanup feature is another tool the platform has introduced to court up-and-coming merchants. Back in July 2019, the platform also launched Managed Delivery, an end-to-end fulfilment service for its high-volume sellers.

It appears that the company is continuing its efforts to roll out new tech features that attract consumers and support merchants even after the company’s former CEO and president Devin Wenig left the company in September.

The company in November entered into an agreement to sell its StubHub business for more than $4 billion, and is reportedly mulling options for its classified-ads business. These actions seemingly indicate the focus is increasingly shifting to its core marketplace business. Investing in the tech on its platform will likely remain critical to keeping up with competitors like Amazon, which invested billions of dollars into supporting third-party sellers last August.