Search giant Google, Inc. tipped its hand this week to Google Base, it's much-rumored auction service that many people believe is meant to compete against auction sites like eBay or CraigsList.
Screen shots of "Google Base," available on several different Web logs, explain that the service-to-be is a database consisting of "your content" that's free to contribute.
Items in the database include a party invite or a "listing of your used car for sale." There is also a tie-in mentioned to Google's comparison shopping site Froogle, and Google Local, the combination Google mapping and localized search results.
Google said, in a prepared statement, that what the blogs alluded to is an "early-stage test of a product that enables content owners to easily send their content to Google."
A Google spokeswoman also confirmed the accuracy of the screen shots, but wouldn't comment further.
Google is getting ready to take the wraps off of a new service called Google Base. If it can be posted online, it would appear that they would, in fact, prefer it belong to them. At least, they'll store it for you and make it searchable.
"Yahoo: What you say?"
Rumors surrounding this service have been spreading over the past few days, and a handful of people have managed to catch the site when it's up (it's currently down). It is not known when Google will officially launch the service, although they are holding a special invitation-only event today. Here's the text off of the front page of the site:
Google Base is Google's database into which you can add all types of content. We'll host your content and make it searchable online for free.
Examples of items you can find in Google Base:
• Description of your party planning service
• Articles on current events from your website
• Listing of your used car for sale
• Database of protein structures
You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they search Google Base. In fact, based on the relevance of your items, they may also be included in the main Google search index and other Google products like Froogle and Google Local.
Just what does Google have in mind? The last sentence there really speaks to what they're after: eBay, Craigslist, and classified ads. Users will be able upload all kinds of items for sale, and you'll be able to geo-locate them, compare them, and search them via Google. Think about it. When using eBay or Craigslist, how often do you think "I wish I could search this with Google"? Recall, too, that Google has a payments service in the works.
There's another level to this as well. By letting people post nearly anything, Google will get their hands on a massive database of items that have been given user-created attributes. Google then can use that data to try and generate a kind of universal tagging schema for information and items, which could then be used to classify information across the net. Far fetched? Google is already trying to do that with information layout via Google Site Maps.
Google has briefly commented on Google Base in a statement:
"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."
So the waiting, and the speculation, begins.
There's not much more to see right now, but Wouter Schut managed not only to see the service live (I saw the front page, but that's it), but he ventured in and took additional screenshots.