To help feed its insatiable information hunger, Google Inc. has begun publicly testing Google Base, a service designed to host and make searchable "all types of online and offline content," the Mountain View, California, company announced.
Described as an extension of existing Google content collection efforts, such as Web crawl, Google Base can be used by large companies and individuals alike to post data in the form of categorized items that Google will host and make searchable for free, wrote Bindu Reddy, a company product manager, in Google's official Web blog shortly after midnight Wednesday EST.
"This beta version of Google Base is another small step toward our goal, creating an online database of easily searchable, structured information," Reddy wrote.
People who post items to Google Base are asked to classify them with keywords or phrases, which Google calls labels, and to describe them with terms, which Google calls attributes.
In this way, Google appears to have made its most concrete move to date into the realm of user-generated content and tagging, popularized by services such as the Del.icio.us social-bookmarking site and Yahoo Inc.'s Flickr photo-sharing site.
The range of items that can be posted on Google Base is broad, encompassing such disparate things as poems, events, recipes, research papers, products and job postings, according to information on the Google Base Web site (http://base.google.com).
In addition to appearing on Google Base, items posted there could also surface in Google's main Web index, the Froogle comparison shopping site and the Google Local listing of businesses.