My ZDNet post today explores the reasons behind Google's new syndication format, GData. Like most people, Jeff Jarvis isn't sure what this means - and neither is Dave Winer. I'm in the same boat, but what I do know is that Google has taken a sudden interest in extending RSS and Atom. Check out this Google Base documentation, for RSS 2.0 and for all syndication formats. This is all about enabling bulk upload of items into Google Base, which you'll recall is Google's potential giant database of structured data on the Web. Google is obviously eyeing RSS (or syndication in general) as a means of getting people to upload data to Google Base. But why did Google feel the need to create a new protocol, called GData?
My initial reaction was that GData is a way to mix RSS/Atom with their APIs, in order to better integrate their increasing number of web applications. I'm not sure if this points to less of a walled garden, or paradoxically more of one because Google is defining the protocol now.