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What is Google base data API

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

In the last blog we saw that our product data is uploaded into the Merchant center and the non-product data is uploaded  into the Google Base website and then internally all these data are stored in Google’s repository which is also called as Google Base. Limiting our discussion to the Product data, instead of uploading our raw feeds using ftp upload, we can also send  them to the Merchant center using the Google’s API (an interface provided by the application to programmatically do our job).

The API provided by Google in the beginning was Google Base Data API (referred as Base API). This API could be used for both feeding the products into Gbase as well as, searching the products. The details for getting started with Base API are provided here http://code.google.com/apis/base/starting-out.html and the developer guide is here  http://code.google.com/apis/base/docs/2.0/developers_guide_java.html. Visiting these links would have caught your eyes that the base API is deprecated now. Yes, Google has decided to separate the task of uploading and querying using two different API namely Content API and Shopping API along with many more features added to the new APIs.  Base API was doing the work of two men. It had a stable version of the client libraries in many programming languages.But now that Google has announced that it will retire Base API by June 1, 2011 we need to look into the two new guys for continuing our uploads and queries.

The following figure shows uploading and querying for data using the older Base API. Customers upload their product catalog data feed files using the Merchant Center or using the GData libraries to programmatically transmit the catalog. Once the data is parsed, validated and inserted into Google Base, its available for search in Google Product Search and can be queried in Commerce Search.

 

Older Architecture

Upload and Query using older Base API

After Google Base is retired in June, the item types such as jobs, real estate, events, and activities will not be supported.  For more info read <http://searchengineland.com/google-to-replace-base-api-with-two-shopping-apis-59301>

Now coming to the newer APIs, the content API allows retailers to upload product data to Google. It can be used to add, delete, query or modify any item individually or in a batch. The data can be used for Google Product Search, Google Commerce Search(GCS), and Product Ads. The Search API is aimed at helping Google Affiliate Network publishers and Google Commerce Search customers. Those who upload feeds in forms of XML or CSV files directly can continue to use the Merchant Center as before.

The figure given below shows uploading and querying for data using the Content and Search APIs for Shopping. Customers can continue to upload their product catalog using the Merchant Center but if they are doing the upload programmatically, they will use the Content API for Shopping to transmit items. These items get validated, parsed and indexed per use case depending on where an item should appear ( GCS or Product Search). Once the data is available for search, the Search API for Shopping is used to to retrieve both the items and facets in one call. You can look into http://code.google.com/apis/commercesearch/docs/migration.html for more details.

 

 

New Architecture

Uploading and Querying using the new APIs

 

We will look at the Content API in the subsequent blogs. Meanwhile you can get started with content API with Getting Started Guide.

 

 

Categories: Google, Technical

What is Google base and Google Merchant center

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Google shopping was previously called Google Product search as it provided wonderful way to search for the relevant products. What next after finding our product? Now, we can straight away shop them too. That may be the reason why they renamed it from Product Search to Shopping.

We have our business in hand. We need some way of sending our product description to Google. Google stores all these details, be it vehicle details, real estate, product, recipes and so on in their repository known as Google Base, the great store house. But how to send our product or real estate details to Google Base?

There are two ways. We can either upload the details in data feeds (text/tab delimited or XML format) or through API provided by Google.

Uploading data using feeds:

Feeds are nothing but the description of our business data in text/tab delimited or XML format.  You can look into the following for feed specification http://www.google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?hl=en_US&answer=188494 and http://www.celebird.com/celebird-templates.htm for feed templates.

Previously all the feeds (product, vehicles, real estate, recipes…) used to be uploaded using the web site called Google base http://base.google.com/base . In other words, we used to upload all the above items using the data feeds to Google base (repository) using the Google base website.

Feeds are sent to Google base

Google base repository

But among all these different item types, a major chunk is product details. So Google started a new website called Google Merchant centre http://www.google.com/merchants dedicated specially to upload the product data. Thus merchants can upload their product data using Merchant centre and non-product data using Google base website. The sign up page at http://www.google.com/base/ explains the difference.

But remember, all the data is stored in Google base repository but we use either Google base website or Merchant centre website to upload them according to their item type using our data feeds.

To make things clearer and popular, we will restrict our discussion to product data. So to remind ourselves again, we upload the product data feeds using the Merchant center into the Google base.

In the next blog we’ll see how to send our product data to Google base using the API’s provided by Google. Not only we can send them through our API, we can even retrieve them and “bring the speed and relevancy of Google search to our online store”.

Categories: Google, Technical

Google Shopping

January 10, 2011 1 comment

Google Shopping in a Customer’s view:

Suppose I wish to buy a laptop, I will sooner or later land on Google to search for them. But I am not interested in Wikipedia helping me understand what a laptop is. I need to know their price, local or online shops where I can get them, reviews, ratings and so on. I am out for a shopping or stated differently, on a search for products. So I visit http://www.google.com/products

After wading through a sea of data in Google search, the first impression we get on Google shopping is highly uplifting. Relevant things which describe the products are listed in a simple manner.

Google Shopping results for laptop

Google Shopping results for laptop

So, now Google has brought you to the centre of the market place with your object of desire listed from different shops and you choose to enter the shop to make the purchase.

Thus we see the importance of Google Product Search in the customer’s perspective as a means to get the relevant details which enable them to shop quickly and sensibly.

How did Google’s crawlers which used to browse the web for content become so intelligent enough to bring data in a highly structured manner? It can’t be that way. Yes they didn’t do it. Then who?

Google Shopping in a Seller’s view:

Let’s assume that we have a good reputation in organising grand events. You wouldn’t be surprised to see a surge of Sellers waiting outside your office to book their slots as soon as the information about a grand shopping fair in the town to be organised by us gets leaked.

That’s precisely the fate of Google servers now. Product owners, Sellers, be they online or with a physical presence, send their product feeds to Google in Google-Specified way. Google then ranks them, indexes them and shows them on their shopping site.

Cool…

The following link provides good introduction of what, why and how of Google Shopping in a clear manner. Do look at them.

http://www.evolution-internet.com/blog/how-to-use-google-product-search-to-increase-sales-and-traffic-to-your-ecommerce-site.html

In the subsequent blogs we will see how to get to the store house of data, The GBase.