You always know Google is up to something. After my request for an XML feed from individual items I got the answer:
We currently do not have an RSS feed for individual items, but we’re always working to further refine and enhance Google Base.
Of course it was only a matter of time until Google would release an API for Google Base just like all its other services.
In my thesis I wrote about setting up a primary description layer for objects. To create a public counterpart of the EPCglobal network one of the best central description databases would be Google. And that’s what is possible right now! By using Google Base as primary information layer we can create a second layer of applications for things. These applications all have their own database and can combine the central descriptive information in the primary layer with their own or other secondary applications.
The objects (or items as Google refers to them) all need a unique identifier, and that’s where Thinglink appears: the public alternative to the commercial EPC (Electronic Product Code). At the moment Thinglink is doing great, but what they are doing right now is a double job. They provide unique identifiers: the actual thinglinks. But they also allow their users to create a descriptive layer around these things. At that point, Google is doing the same, but better, and gives people more flexibility to create a much more detailed digital representation of the ‘item’ concerned.
Thinglink’s job is to provide unique identifiers: Thinglinks. Its website could give a nice overview of thinglinked objects, just like it does now, and it does a great job at that. The descriptive information about things though, belongs in Google Base, because we have more than just thinglinked objects.
The term ‘Internet Of Things’ is creating smart networked environments where objects communicate with each other. With the Google Base API becoming available we are one step closer to building applications for objects in the analogue world: an ‘Internet For Things’. More about this can be found in my MA thesis.