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GDBMS – Google Base arrives

By Brian | November 16, 2005 | Share on Facebook

Google just put their Google Base product into beta. All of the articles I’ve read about this are repeating the same meme – this will be competition for auction sites and classified ad sites (like eBay or Craig’s List). That’s true, of course, but I think this has the potential of being much, much bigger.

A database is the backbone of just about every significant software application, regardless of its business model. If you’re a large company, you’ve got your application living on one or more web servers, talking to a database living on one or more database servers, and all the architectural components that come with that (routers, load balancers, etc.). The hardware, software and support required creates a barrier to entry for smaller, start-up companies. These folks are generally relegated to hosting their applications through some ISP-provided add-on service (like Blogger, GeoCities, CafePress, etc.), and manage their data through FTP tools, with an occasional canned server-side script or two.

If Google gets serious about this service (and by serious, I mean they guarantee some level of uptime, response time for high volumes, backup & restore functionality), they could become the default web server for thousands of small businesses that are limping along with a half-baked solution today. This is fascinating because such a solution would be a big boon to their customers (who may even pay a fee for it), but wouldn’t do much to augment their search services. What good would it be, for instance, if a Google search for “Nike sneakers” returned an online shoe vendor’s current inventory or a distributor’s customer record for Nike’s shipping department?

There’s also the omnipresent issue of security. The very idea of putting your database server outside the firewall is heresey today if the data is at all sensitive/private. If Google builds a security architecture that people can trust, they may gain some larger customers as well. At that point, though, the data needs to be actively excluded from the search results.

There are lots of options here. I think we’ll see it develop into a lot more than a classified ad engine.

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