Google Base made its debut today. It's a free database engine with a web interface. It's powerful and simple to use like most Google services. Users are able to define an item's "properties" (if it is a book it could be ISBN, title, author, publication date and so on, if it is a car it could be brand, model, color, etc.), tag each item with up to 10 tags and attach a photo. One can expect to see innovative uses for this new service. People are already talking about Google entering the "listing" industry dominated until now by newspapers, Craigslist and eBay.
What I do not like is that all this information (consider the scale) will not just be indexed by Google, but also hosted by them. It's free, but it's like been given land to built your home or business that you do not really own. The actual owner is Google: all your Base are belong to us? It's like Google is trying to be the Internet.
I would have loved to see some API that would allow developers to manipulate and extract data from Google Base. Then I would be assured that whenever I want I would be able to extract all my data, delete them from Google Base and set up my own site. But it's not there -hopefully not yet.
Or even better, I would prefer to see Google indexing and embracing microformats, a clever use of XHTML to describe data. This would allow a whole new industry to develop around Google, new tools and services in an open environment.
I'm really worried.