Well, the web is abuzz with the fact that the Google Base service has finally gone live after a few weeks of rumors. Looking over the service it seems to be both less and more than it promises to be -- and therefore it's tough to really come out with a detailed opinion about it just yet. Right now, honestly, it looks basically like an attempt to copy Craigslist. The folks at Google claim that's not their intent, and that's probably absolutely true. Google Base should be a lot more than a Craigslist clone, but the way it's set up, that's not going to be very clear to most people looking at it. In fact, it's not clear that it's even a very good Craigslist clone. The way it's set up seems likely to turn off less tech-savvy folks out there. With a bit of understanding how a database works, it's clear why they did certain things, but the average user doesn't care about those things. As someone just mentioned to me: "It's Craigslist without the community." Of course, hopefully it won't stay that way. As others have pointed out, the real value won't be clear until some time has gone by and we can see how people are really using it. With that in mind, it still seems pretty disappointing that, as it stands, this offering is a whole lot less than I originally expected. Offering an online database setup could be a great way to become a real platform for innovative apps developed by others. If Google was going for that, you'd expect them to be hyping up an API to plug into Google Base as a back end. They may eventually get there (you have to assume it's where they're going eventually), but initially, it's not really clear what Google Base wants to be -- and so they may need to do a little convincing to explain to people why they should use it. Of course, glancing over how it's set up right now, it's pretty clear that one group that will jump on the Google Base bandwagon quickly will be the spammers. It seems ripe for spam abuse, so it'll be worth watching how Google deals with that.
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