It seems to me that "Google & Ebay going out" is just a "sonar" news.
I mean, teenagers are used to request attention by going out with a close friend of the beloved target. In this case, I think that Google and Ebay are just hitting the gong to see how it reverberates on the blogosphere. Then, they have a good sonar-like morphology of the market, what are the trendsetter opinions, what is the general feedback, if that spreads (or spread not) over the WWW.
Big as they are, they don't need market research anymore. They just announce something, then everybody is there to listen and comment on, while they grab all the information that "common" enterprises shall pay for.