Seattle PI's Tod Bishop has been speaking with Garry Wiseman, the product unit manager (PUM) of Microsoft's new Fremont project:

"An upcoming online classified service from Microsoft Corp. may sound like Craigslist or the new Google Base, but the team behind the project says it found inspiration closer to home.

Microsoft employees have long used an internal listing service to sell and exchange items with other workers, friends and family. The company's Windows Live team is trying a similar approach with its listing service. Users will be able to offer their items online either within a closed circle or to the broader public.

The company refers to the upcoming Windows Live service by the code name "Fremont" -- after the Seattle neighborhood with the popular Sunday market where community members buy and sell goods.

Word of the Fremont project emerged in online reports Tuesday, but it was conceived early this year, said Garry Wiseman, a product unit manager working on the project.

"We realized that the classified marketplace was really starting to heat up," Wiseman said. "We'd seen a lot of other sites out there be very successful, and they were growing in numbers, and it was quite clear, based on where the online classified space was heading, that we could play a unique role."