Google Base Axed in Favor of New Shopping APIs

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 launched with broad goals, as described within Google Base help pages:

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.

RealGeni Real Estate Search Engine

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.

Be sure to read the next eCommerce article: Zappos API Growing Up: Version 2 Coming This Week


Comments (3)

Ugh. I own 4 of the 63 mashups, and I was working on a 5th. It appears the Base API is to be fully decommissioned as of June 1, 2011.

Will the new solution support cars? In the “Content API for Shopping” API I see a Product Type Attribute of "Vehicles & Parts > Land Vehicles > Cars, Trucks & Vans,” however there are no car specific attributes like Make and Model. Does this mean just car parts and not cars? I currently do not see any used cars for sale in Google Shopping.


So we can WAVE goodbye to another google service!

We always expected Google to restrict the ability to use the google base api to query real estate data but never expected them to withdraw the Real Estate layer entirely.

Having launched the Real Estate Maps 'layer' in the UK only 5 months ago there must have been recently influencing factors not to continue the march into the Real Estate vertical ;-)

Overall good news for shopping websites (after they've spent out on re-coding).

[...] further organization to the all-encompassing, yet chaotic, Google Base API.  When the final phasing out notice came, there still wasn’t a tremendous amount of adoption or support for the new [...]