by Mike Masnick

Understanding Why All Your Base May Belong To Google

from the it's-not-that-complicated dept

There's a lot of talk today about the supposed leak of a product called Google Base, with plenty of people predicting that this is a shot across the bow of eBay or Craigslist. While that could be the end result, it doesn't seem like that's the real target for this offering at all. Years back (when I still remembered how to do database design and SQL queries) I needed to do a quick prototype of a web-based application, and came across a great little service (long since deceased) called ActiveSpace. It was, basically, an online database system with an easy front-end creation tool and a little bit of middleware magic. Basically, everything you'd need to quickly build your own web-based app without having to do any of the real dirty work or set up a real database yourself. That went away, but soon afterwards, Intuit launched a similar (though, not nearly as useful) system called Quickbase. All of these systems realized the basic fact that most software is really just a front-end stuck on a database, with just a little magic in the middle to help make the app do what it needed to do. By having a simple, easy to set up database tool online, with easy front-end development tools, you can build simple applications without too much trouble at all. It appears that's exactly what Google is trying to do with Google Base. It's not about taking on Craigslist or eBay -- both of which are more about the community than the technology -- but about enabling people to create their own specialized apps, using a simple online database powered with Google's search tools. If this sounds familiar, it's the whole concept behind situated software, where people are developing specific apps that fit their needs, rather than for a huge community. In other words, Google Base seems more like something that the folks at Ning and Jotspot should be concerned about, rather than anyone at Craigslist and eBay. Of course, what isn't clear is what kind of tools Google then provides for adding front-end capabilities to the Google Base -- but that would be the next obvious step if I were building the tool.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    valnur, Feb 21st, 2009 @ 12:38am


    We are in a similar market as Google Base but our product gives structure (while still not imposing any set of predefined categories) to our index and therefore makes it possible for users to not only perform keyword search but also browse hierarchically with the ability to specify unlimited number of filters to refine their search.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • Add Your Comment

    Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
    Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
    Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
      Save me a cookie
    Follow Techdirt
    Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

    Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
    Essential Reading
    Techdirt Deals
    Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
    Techdirt Insider Chat

    Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
    Recent Stories


    22:58 Corporate Sovereignty Helps To Bring EU-Canada Trade Deal To Brink Of Collapse (0)
    17:23 PINAC Director Sues Miami Beach Mayor Over Refusal To Release Social Media Blocklists (6)
    15:20 Shadow Warrior 2 Developers: We'd Rather Spend Our Time Making A Great Game Than Worrying About Piracy (10)
    13:33 Judge Orders FBI To Turn Over Information On How Many People Around The World It Snagged With Its Playpen NIT (9)
    13:06 The Easiest Thing You Can Do Today To Raise Money For The EFF (9)
    11:40 Chinese Company Recalls Cameras, DVRs Used In Last Week's Massive DDoS Attack (24)
    10:43 AT&T's $85 Billion Time Warner Buy Could Be An Anti-Consumer Shit Show Of Monumental Proportions (15)
    10:38 Daily Deal: VoCore2 Mini Linux Computer And Ultimate Dock (1)
    09:43 Dumb & Dumber Claims About Last Week's Internet Attack (SOPA?!? Really?) (28)
    08:06 NSA Says Federal Cyber Strategy Needs More NSA More Often, And On The Information Sharing Ground Floor (12)
    More arrow
    Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


    Email This

    This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.