The mystery Google project called Google Base is likely to be something very different from the Ebay competitor that has been widely predicted, industry analysts have told vnunet.com.
It is more likely that Google is planning to create a vast database for all kinds of information that software developers can use to power their applications, suggested Whit Andrews, a research vice president covering web services for Gartner.
"If it were me, I would be creating an online database such that that online database could feed other online applications," Andrews told vnunet.com.
Such a database could allow amateur meteorologists, for example, to share weather data that they collect, which a software developer could use to create an application that helps farmers plan when to harvest their crops.
Bird watchers could mark which birds they saw when, and that data could be used for scientific research. Andrews cautioned that he has no special knowledge of Google's plans and only based his ideas on the screenshots that started circulating online on Tuesday.
The screenshots in question showed a forthcoming Google product dubbed Google Base. The page displayed a service that asked individuals to "post" information to one of numerous categories such as vehicles.
The phrasing in part suggested that the service would be used as an online classified service that would compete with Ebay. Speculation was further fuelled by earlier unconfirmed reports that Google is looking to create a service called Google Wallet, a payment service that could compete with Ebay's Paypal.
Both bloggers and mainstream media including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal jumped on the news. Some wrongly predicted that the product would be unveiled on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Google was quick to counter the speculation.
"We are testing new ways for content owners to easily send their content to Google. Like our web crawl and the recently released Google Sitemaps program, we are working to provide content owners with an easy way to give us access to their content. We're continually exploring new opportunities to expand our offerings, but we don't have anything to announce at this time," a spokesperson for the company said in an emailed statement.
"I believe this is Google’s way to not only build a lucrative listings business, but also to flesh out other areas like Froogle and Local with deep content that’s otherwise inaccessible or just plain doesn’t exist," Charlene Li, principal analyst for devices, media and marketing at Forrester Research wrote on her blog.
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