In a move likely to send a frisson of fear among the purveyors of classified advertising, internet search engine titan Google has gone live with its anticipated Base service.
The ambitious new offering will allow online users to upload all kinds of files and other information to Google's servers and make them searchable by category. Content could potentially include job listings, real estate, cars for sale, recipes, DNA sequences and individual stand-alone databases.
The San Jose, California-headquartered company says it has no immediate plans to serve ads. Vp of product management, Salar Kamangar says: "This is all part of our effort to make it really easy for anyone with information to make is accessible from Google."
During its current beta test phase Base is being offered free. However, it is widely expected to go commercial with several industry analysts believing it is the first step towards an assault on the $100 billion (€85bn; £57bn) annual classified ad market.
Says Peter Zollman, publisher of Classified Intelligence Report, an industry newsletter. "It will be a huge threat to traditional classified businesses."
Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff