I haven’t fully computed the meaning of Google’s base. But I’ll start here: If the king of the world of unstructured data — it searches everything — is now getting into the business of structuring data with such things as very formatted real-estate listings, then Google should openly publish its structure so anyone can use it anywhere and still be found by Google. If they don’t, then Google — which wants to tear down the walls around everyone else’s gardens — is only building a wall itself. And if they don’t publish their API, then folks should gang up and use microformats of our own so our stuff can be found in spite of Google on Google. But if they do publish it — and if it’s open-source and open to change — then I say fine: We have the start of standards to swarm around.
I’ll say again that the future of classifieds is not centralized — on newspaper sites or even on Craigs List or Monster — but decentralized and distributed, living anywhere and found by search engines. If that’s Google doing the finding, fine. If it’s a specialized competitor, fine.
: Here’s the SF Chron’s story on base.