- Open letter to Google Base Product Manager highlights Structured Blogging as a better approach for aggregating structured content.
One of my focus being workflows around this concept (what I called Folkflows in my previous post), it will be interesting to see how this will progress. But the focus of this article is the very first application of Google Base (or for that matter, structured blogging): Simple match making. Like in classifieds.
Let us take a very simple use case: In my organization we have community newsgroups. People keep asking information about "recommend a doctor" or "where is a good restaurent in this location.". The information is amenable for google base: We will probably put up an interface to directly add the questions as well as results to google base. Both updates + search will be done using RSS or tab-separated file uploads, while giving some nice UI for standard shortcuts.
So what is the role of Google here?
But we forget one more requirement: Be able to notify the people involved, and community. This is not exactly an atom feed problem: One can't subscribe to all individual feeds. For that matter, what is entry point of the feed is itself a question. Should I subscribe to a feed related "Anyone asking about anything in Pune, India"?
In some cases, it makes sense -for e.g. if I am tracking lowest prices of a particular product; but in most cases, we should realize that we are more attached to communities, and we will be ready to supply information to this closed community more easily than open-ended communities. This is a standard social fact.
This means, the feed that we subscribe to should be aggregation of all structured information at group/community level. It can't be a global feed based on item, given off by Google Base.
This model plays out very well when you add a simple Structured Data handling plugin to standard blog tools such as wordpress. And that is I would put Structured Blogging approach, integrated with standard feed servers is going to be important, and co-exist with Google Base. (We also note that group mailing list creation and management tools are also provided by google and yahoo, and they will obviously be integrated/enhanced to offer structured blogging.) We can assume that it is going to take some time to settle.
And folk-workflows will have to wait for attention till all this settle down.