The database that tried to be everything to everyone is being replaced by more specific tools. The Google Base API, launched in 2005, has been deprecated. In its place, Google suggests using its new Google Shopping Search API for finding products and Shopping Content API for merchants to add products. The new APIs will help Google focus on the most common uses of Google Base. However, the change means that developers will have to update code and that some non-shopping applications will be left without a replacement.
Google Base is a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content, which we’ll make searchable on Google (if your content isn’t online yet, we’ll host it for you). You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they do related searches.
Because of the broad nature, many felt Google was reaching too far with its launch of Base. Some thought Google wanted to be in its own search results, while others worried that Google shouldn’t own the structured web. Others thought Google Base could go on to disrupt entire industries, writing about Google Base’s potential impact to real estate
With Google Base there is very little justification for sellers to use a broker because they can do a FSBO, market their own homes and get the same amount traffic through Google because of its strong brand presence. And sellers don’t have to pay a dime.
In the end, Google Base was probably too broad to achieve these fears. While real estate was a popular user of Base (often from the selling agents), it didn’t replace the tried and true local methods. In fact, real estate is one of the areas that is left behind by the move to the new APIs, according to Google’s announcement:
There are a few non-shopping data types that won’t be supported with new Shopping APIs, such as jobs, real estate, events, and activities. We hope this won’t cause too much disruption, and we recommend developers use Google Site Search and other search technologies for those use cases.
Our directory lists a number of Google Base real estate mashups, including RealGeni shown above. We also list a few mashups for the other unsupported categories, but overwhelmingly the most use we’ve seen of the Google Base API are in Google Base shopping mashups. Shopping makes up 40% of the 63 Google Base mashups that we list. Those developers will still need to update their mashups, but it appears that Google has chosen the right segment upon which to focus its structured search.