UPDATE: We've postscripted (see below) with an official statement from Google about the Google Base test.
Lots and lots of talk in the blogosphere today about the new (is it?) Google Base. As always, Barry does a great job pulling it all together here. What is Google Base? From what screen caps show it's a new database service that Google is making available to the public. Sell a house? Sell a car? Whatever. Lookout eBay, However, it might be more than that. Look
Any type of info could be posted and attributes added to it to make it easier to find. Google is getting into a bit of semi-structured info. I've said for a long time that for tags to really succeed, a more structured form of tagging would be needed. In this case, a user could develop their own search fields (the structure) and then add the needed info. Sounds like Google has got the right idea. Of course, that doesn't answer the question, will people take advantage of the additional structure versus just tossing in random keywords into a single field.
OK, now back to Google Base.
This new tool will be introduced during the 'Google Zeitgeist'05 Partner Forum' to be held today at Google HQ in California. We expect that 'Google Purchases' [hey, I spotted that domain two weeek's ago] --the new micropayments service among users-- will be also introduced as a complement to 'Google Base'.
As of 12pm PDST, the system is not online and even a few screen shots are gone.
Phillip has much more over at Google Blogoscoped including screen caps from Dirson and others. Btw, Google has owned the domain Googlebase.com since June.
Want to discuss, check out this thread in the SEW Forums.
Postscript: A Google spokesperson shared the following with me via email. Looks like it's a test that also did what Google does so well, keep people talking.
This is an early-stage test of a product that enables content owners to easily send their content to Google. Like our web crawl and the recently released Google Sitemaps program, we are working to provide content owners an easy way to give us access to their content. We're continually exploring new opportunities to expand our offerings, but we don't have anything to announce at this time.
Postscript 2: OK, so that's the "official word" from Google. However, the WSJ's Kevin Delaney has more in the article (sub only): Google Tests New Service To Build Content Database.
Key Points from Kevin's article:
- "Google Base would let users submit information to a searchable Google database, according to images of Web pages from the service that were posted on several Web logs and which Google confirmed were legitimate."
- "But the existence of Google Base heightens anticipation of the Mountain View, Calif., company's long-expected entry into direct competition with online auctioneer eBay, which also owns a minority stake in classified listings site Craigslist Inc."
- "It's going to slowly chip away at eBay's growth and opportunities, especially in international markets where there is a tremendous amount of growth at Google," said Brian Blair, principal at Wedge Partners LLC, a New York research firm.
Ok, now let the speculation continue! (-: Is it time to forget crawlers for certain types of content? Will the typical user take the time to send material directly to Google? What about eBay? Just some of the MANY questions, no answers, and Google isn't talking. Again, the idea of allowing a user to actually develop a structure for the data sure seems to make sense to me.
Postscript 3: More from News.com