Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Google Base Starting To Make Sense?

Let's face it: while this Google Base thing sounded exciting at first, it turned out to be kind of dull. Google Base seemed poised to organize all the worlds data in a structured format - but then all but ignored the problems that make this a hard task. Multiple schemas for the same class of items? (Not our problem) Interface to extremely heterogenous data? (Just expose the underlaying data model) Trust? (T.. what?) Linking and reuse? Any kind of access control?
At the same time Google did not offer any decent API that would have enabled people to easily build applications on top of the Google Base data. I was really starting to wonder ....

But then, this announcement and even more this article by TechCrunch explained everything (well, something): Google is now offering a payment service, specifically it allows Google Base items to be sold, facilitating the transaction through Google Payments.

So Google Base is meant to be an internal infrastructure on top of which Google will continue to add other applications. In Addition, now with Google Payments in place, the Google Base + Payments combination will become a major competitor for Ebay and Amazon. And while I'm still not a fan of handing Google a monopoly on too much data, I very much welcome this development: one internet titan challenging the near monopolies of two others ... I predict this will lead to lower ebay fees and a better and faster user interface for ebay :-).