Google Base Arrives

    November 16, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Google has opened up its massive server farms to host user-submitted content that it will index and make searchable. The company opened up Google Base to users today.

Google Base Arrives
Google Base Officially Launches

It allows users to contribute online and offline content to the search engine, and add attributes to the content’s description to help others find it.

Depending on relevance, submitted items could appear across Google properties like Froogle or Google Local. That would seem to support the anticipated release of Google’s classifieds service, by giving users an easy way to upload and tag products or services.

One item in the Base FAQ also shows that the service is ready to work with classifieds:

If you’d rather format your item by hand, click Next without entering any information in the description box. On the next page, you can specify your item’s title, description, pricing, and other content in separate fields.

Publishing items to Base will require a Google Account. Google will review submitted items, so users will have to obey the terms and conditions of the service. Users with a large number of items to submit can do so via bulk upload with RSS or Atom feeds, or with a tab-separated file.

AdWords users can advertise their hosted page on Base with the program. Google recommends in the FAQ that AdWords users include their namespace in the visible URL of the ad, ie

Gary Price at Search Engine Watch does see a couple of areas Google will have to police heavily in order to keep Base a relevant and useful service:

Spam will likely be rampant, especially in the optional “labels” (aka tags) section. Precisely how these labels are used is unknown, but I’m guessing their use is for helping determining relevancy to a specific query. Also, will someone or something be watching for copyright issues if/when someone reposts an in-copyright article from a magazine? It’s worth mentioning that every item has a link to report it as a “bad item” (violates copyright, mislabeled or misleading, spam, contains or links to adult content and is not labeled correctly, etc.) Great, now does Google have the human resources to check out each report in a timely manner and then respond properly?

And Danny Sullivan recommended a couple of improvements for Base:

This is a real advancement, and it’s one I hope we’ll see improve in two ways — the ability to have private databases and named databases.

For private databases, I mean that Google Base is a simple way for anyone to create a collection of names and phone numbers for the local soccer club. But you don’t want the world to have access to that information, only people you choose. Private databases would be helpful.

By named database, I sort of mean mini-Google Bases. If someone’s created an exceptionally good set of information, I want to be able to search directly against just that information, rather than all of Google Base. It’s a pain to have to hope or figure out that refinement will let me do that. Give me the ability to name and bookmark a particular database.

A number of items have been submitted to Base already. Google is using geocoding to enhance the results. By clicking on the sample “cars for sale” link, I was taken to specific listings within 45 miles of the WebProNews home base, complete with a Google Map and pushpins showing where each car could be found.

Doing a search for “blogger” in Base returned a couple of pages of results, which should rapidly expand as more people add references to their blogs to Base. Options to refine the search appeared as clickable links at the top of the results page.

Base has been listed as a beta version, like a lot of Google services. Now we’ll have to wait for Classifieds to come along and see how they work together.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.