I recently wrote about how Google was going to crush some career websites. Well, now that I've had a chance to dig around Google Base a bit more, I'm starting to think Google is going to crush everyone, everywhere. Or, more specifically, Google is going to strip away some of your business - or at least force you to use a Google competitor for some services. End of the day, the way you operate will change.
There are Google APIs already available for Google Base (the primary focus of this blog post), Blogger, Google Calendar, Google Code Search, and Google Spreadsheets. And it's probably safe to say there are more APIs coming.
Google Base explicitly provides for the creation / storage / lookup / update / deletion of at least the following types of people/objects/things: Events and activities, Hotels, Housing, Jobs, Personals, People profiles, Products, Reviews, Recipes, Services, Vacation rentals, Vehicles, Doctors, Reference articles, Photographs, Images, Course schedules, Company profiles, Jewelry, Podcasts.
Let's go through the companies mentioned in the title of this post just to try and get a better idea of what's going on. PeopleAggregator is that web service/application service provider that allows social networks to pop up overnight by just customizing and reusing PeopleAggregator infrastructure. [See PeopleAggregator treachery here.] Well, Google Base provides for 'People profiles'. Blogger provides for all sorts of blog-type functionality. Google Calendar provides for all sorts of event handling and notifications / reminders / invites. Google Base also provides for creating your own custom data fields within each of the Google Base 'objects'. So, for instance, a 'Vacation rental' object for your particular rental - an isolated island in the Pacific - might have an extra text field for your life insurance policy number. The pre-defined field types, so far, are text, number-unit (4 kg), number (4), date range, large text (a long-ish description), web URL, checkbox, location. With access to all of this flexibility in the API, it's not difficult to see how at least a rudimentary social network could be build on top of Google Base, and build pretty quickly. I don't think anyone actually uses PeopleAggregator, but if they were, if PeopleAggregator was actually a viable company, they would probably have to change to accomodate Google's entrance into the market. They would, at a minimum, have to work to differentiate themselves to development teams about to embark on a deep customization project.
Salesforce.com is the king of XML/web services/outsourced application hosting-type 'stuff'. It seems to me like Google Base could soon provide enough APIs that development teams anywhere in the world could quickly build out a Salesforce competitor - all for little to no overhead - and it would all perform at Google quality levels - that is, crazy fast.
Amazon started building out some custom stores - or at least one that I heard of - Endless.com. Why? Probably to show people that Amazon was as much of an ecommerce platform as Google. In fact, it sought to demonstrate that what you dream of doing with Google in a couple of years time, you can do with Amazon web services right now. A few weeks ago, one of the business magazines headlined on Jeff Bezos' "Big Gamble". What Jeff probably didn't mention is that going to web services/hosting/etc. provider was more of a survival strategy than a gamble. Bezos is no dummy - he saw the writing on the wall.
The mashups scene could get very hectic in a hurry, if it's not there already.
Bet on Microsoft and lots of other threatened folks to continue to work behind the scenes on Capitol Hill (DC) to slow down the Google juggernaut.
Friday, January 26, 2007