Our story today about Google Base was edited down for space reasons, and some of what got cut were Charlene Li’s thoughts on Google Base as an open platform. Li sees the possibility of Google developing Base APIs, allowing developers to build applications or services on top of the Base data, in the same way they do with Google Maps. “It’s not about controlling the information, it’s about collecting it and leveraging it,” she said. “It says, here’s the data, if you want to build applications, go for it.” Li writes more about this at her blog. Note that Google made no mention of APIs in our talk with them yesterday.
It’s not hard to imagine Base quickly becoming something quite big. Think of all the people who want to be found or have information they want to share with the world. Li, for example, entered her profile into Base. If we click through on the “people profiles” link, we’re taken to a Google-mapped page of profiles that we can refine by marital status, gender and more. Suddenly, we have the start of an online dating or social networking service.
Something tells us this is going to grow very fast, in ways we can’t even imagine yet.
(Also, this is kind of interesting, though we’re not smart enough to know if it’s a big problem. Anyone?)
UPDATE: This has the potential to be a very useful people-finder. When we first posted this entry this morning, the link above took us to just four people profiles. Now we see about 800. Understandably so. If you want to be found on the Web, the relevancy algorithm in Page Rank often works against you. If I Google myself, for example, on some days this blog will be the top result. On other days, the top result may point to something I’ve written that was heavily linked to. Either way, I have no personal control over how people find their way to me and my information. I’m at the mercy of Google and the webmasters who link to info about me. Google Base potentially changes that, allowing me to own my own profile and influence what people find about me (either my profile itself, or a link to a Web page of my choosing). And from a searchers standpoint, I’ll be able to easily find people who meet a certain criterion, such as “people who (allegedly) work at Google.”