RSS Feeds Submission To Google: Google Base Is Here!
Google, launched yesterday its newest and most speculated about tool: Google Base.
In essence, Google Base is a powerful and highly scalable database for submission of publicly shareable structured data. It is also a way for Google to let anyone upload information to Google databases.
As Rafat Ali correctly stated "this is the first major in-house effort by Google that allows self-selection and direct input".
Google Base is a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content that Google will host and make searchable online. 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, Google Base and Google Local.
But, what is so unique about Google Base?
Google Base enables you to add attributes that better describe your content so that users can easily find it. The more popular specific attributes become, the more often Google will utilize them as suggested options during information input. Similarly, items that become more popular will show up as suggested item types in the "Choose an existing item type" drop down menu.
So, in his own way also Google is playing the "tag" game, with a bottom-up folksonomy system that is all user-defined.
To be noted is the fact that information items submitted to Google Base may show up within standard Google Search results as well as within Froogle, or Google Local.
Labels and attributes can be utilized to optimize visibility and exposure in a transparent approach. Labels are any keywords or key-phrases – such as recipe, event, or product – that can be used to classify or describe items, while attributes are words or phrases that help describe the characteristics and traits the information items submitted. Up to a maximum of 10 keywords or key-prases can be submitted for anyone information item (they need only to be separated by a comma).
Anyone can tap into the content of Google Base as if it would access traditional search results. Only to submit new information items to Google Base you need to have an open account (free) on Google Base.
Authors or information providers who submit information items to Google Base get a specific Web URL for each item submitted. Therefore unlike standard Google search results, information items submitted to Google Base are fully hosted on Google servers and have a specific permanent web address. Google Base states that it can take up to 15 minutes for the newly submitted data to appear online.
Next to standard text-based information items Google Base allows the direct upload of images and web feeds. Each information item uploaded to the Google Base can include up to ten images in .gif, .jpg, .png, or .tif graphic file formats. Images can be uploaded both from your local files as well as from an existing published image URL online. This means full free image hosting with included unlimited bandwidth.
The very interesting thing for online publishers is that data feeds, including RSS ones can be directly submitted to Google Base offering the first, true direct way to have feeds-based content indexed by the undisputed major search engine.
To submit an item, it is extremely simple: you choose an item type from a drop down menu or create your own item type in dedicated text box. After that Google Base offers a new input form to add details, edit, review and publish your item.
New items can be assigned ot one of several pre-defined content types including:
- Course schedules
- News & Articles
- People Profiles
- Reference Articles
- Wanted Ads
Information items can be published also for a specific date range, so that any information item can have a specific lfespan. This would seem to be very useful for the use of Google Base as a classified ad engine, as well as for announcement and other types of time-bound information items.
Default information fields to be filled out when submitting a new information item to Google Base include:
- Publication Name
- Publish Date
- Publication Time
- Publication Volume
- Reference Web page URL
- Item location
Further attributes can be custom added by the user through a simple facility which allows to select a field data type among the following ones:
- Number Unit
- Date range
- Long (large) text
- Web URL
- Item location
Information items can be saved in draft mode, allowing submission and filling out of data fields in multiple sessions when needed as well as previewing before final publication.
A clearly spelled-out set of Google Base Editorial Guidelines provides precise information on the editorial character of new items that you want to be effectively indexed by Google Base. Some of the most relevant ones include:
* Be honest, accurate, and factual.
* Clearly and accurately describe your message.
Use Standard Punctuation
* No repeated and unnecessary punctuation or symbols.
* Your title may not contain an exclamation point.
Use Standard Capitalization
* No excessive capitalization such as "FREE" or "GOOGLE BASE."
* Capitalization of the first letter of each word within a URL is permitted.
* Avoid gimmicky repetition.
Use Proper Grammar
* Your item text must be in relevant, logical sentences and must contain grammatically correct spacing.
* The use of symbols, numbers, or letters must adhere to the true meaning of the symbol.
No Unacceptable Phrases
* Your item cannot contain universal call-to-action phrases such as "click here," "link here," "visit this link," or other similar phrases that could apply to any item, regardless of content.
* Use a call-to-action unique to the information you provide.
Interestingly enough Google Base is also very specific about the types of content it will not be willing to publish. Here a couple of examples:
Hacking and Cracking Sites - Posting is not permitted for the promotion of hacking or cracking. For example, items must not provide instructions or equipment to illegally access or tamper with software, servers, or websites.
Aids to Pass Drug Tests - Posting is not permitted for the promotion of products such as drug cleansing shakes and urine test additives, and also "explosives, magic mushrooms, non-consensual adult material, body parts" among others.
It remains a bit vague whether Google Base will exercise editorial review rights on each and every item submitted, which seems unlikely due to very large amount of submissions that will be likely osted to this service.
"As a business, Google must make decisions about where we draw the line in regards to the items we accept. We, therefore, may not accept items containing some content or relating to certain products or services. We reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it comes to the items we accept on our site, as noted in our terms and conditions."
The key benefits of Google Base for content providers are the following ones:
- Provides broad access and visibility without requiring cost investments. As mentioned, items you submit to Google Base can be found on Google Base and, depending on their relevance, may also appear on Google properties like Google, Froogle and Google Local
- Provides content authors or data owners to publish information online without needing to have an existing web site, or blog
- Free content hosting
- Unlimited bandwidth
- User in control of what submitted and how
Yesterday, a Slashdot reader rightly commented on Google Base potential:
"Like Wikipedia, this idea has great potential. Like Wikipedia, this will have many problems. What's to stop this from suffering under a heavy load of spam, honest mistakes, and deliberate mischeif?"
Other early testers reported existing bugs and issues with the system:
"I tried publishing something and it told me I published over 200 articles already. Then I clicked 'save draft', and it gave me an error."
"If they release an api for this...holy crap. How incredibly useful. One could, say, write a content management system that runs on google base rather than mysql or whatever. Or who knows what other cool shit the hackers will come up with. This concept is SO powerful its kind of...freaky. So much of the internet could fit onto this one little idea."
"...with an API the possibilities are endless in terms of what you could include in their indexing."
"Now back to details and the invisible web. That's the term Chris Sherman and Gary Price have helped popularize to discuss content locked behind database walls, inaccessible to regular spidering. Google Base presents a possible boon for this type of information.
Want to export your entire job database to Google and not afraid to do so, since you control the destination URL and will just send people back to your own site? Google Base makes that possible! Just upload your data, and all your categories/fields will be translated into "details" of your choosing. Want to share with Google the temperature database you've been keeping for your city, something they've never spidered because it was only accessible through a search box? Now you can!
This is a real advancement, and it's one I hope we'll see improve in two ways -- the ability to have private databases and named databases.
For private databases, I mean that Google Base is a simple way for anyone to create a collection of names and phone numbers for the local soccer club. But you don't want the world to have access to that information, only people you choose. Private databases would be helpful.
By named database, I sort of mean mini-Google Bases. If someone's created an exceptionally good set of information, I want to be able to search directly against just that information, rather than all of Google Base. It's a pain to have to hope or figure out that refinement will let me do that. Give me the ability to name and bookmark a particular database.
For example, imagine an entomologist who uploads a database about insects, maybe a really cool one accessible to ordinary people. Want to search against just that data? It would be nice if the data set could be named and have its own custom home page that people could be directed to."
Myself, one use I foresee during my initial testing phase is to utilize Google Base as the public archive for the text-based newsletter that I send out weekly to my subscribers. For who doesn't have a pre-set automatic facility to store and upload newsletter content into a public open archive, Google Base may offer an useful option. In such cases Google Base may also provide easier access, greater exposure, simpler maintenance and lower cost of hosting for all this content.
Other uses I have considered:
Publishing all of the database data from my Official Guide To Best Web Conferencing and Live Presentation Tools. This would give great exposure and access to my data without exposing in a full and comprehensive way the whole guide. Though there may be disadvantages to this I am curious to test some of this out.
Overall Google Base appears to an interesting new free service from Google which may reserve to us more surprises in the near future. Seen superficially Google Base may appear to be not such a revolutionary innovation, but when you start looking at some of the possibilities and complementary options that could be added in the near future, the useful applications may grow exponentially.
As Danny Sullivan nicely concluded his first review of Google Base "The overall goal seems to be put this tool out there and see what people make of it".
N.B.: Google Base is currently available only in English.
See items posted by others:
Non-profit organizations - volunteer, non-profit, jobs in charity
Chicken Tikka Masala - recipes, reviews, cuisine
Cars for Sale - Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Prius
Course descriptions - differential equations - linear algebra - biochemistry
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