I'm feeling very rusty after being off for a week—a veritable eternity in "Internet time." But I wanted to comment briefly on the new Google Base interface.
When Google Base launched and people said it's the "Craigslist killer" or the "newspaper classifieds killer," I argued that might only be so if Google could create a user experience and expectation that trained people to think of Google as a source of classifieds-related information. Based on my discussions with Google, I formed the opinion that the company wanted Base to be the entry point for content and not necessarily the place for users to access that content.
Now Google has apparently redesigned Base. The new interface starts to resemble the kind of user experience that WILL condition people to go there to look for classifieds and other related content. The display of that content on search results pages still needs considerable work, if Google does want Base to be a user destination, but see this post re Google's vertical strategy (which could equally apply to the display of content on Base results pages).
Only a fraction of Google's traffic comes through its "vertical" sites (Local, Froogle, etc.). So the challenge remains how to efficiently and effectively push out the Base content to Google.com and existing Google verticals where most people will search, rather than creating yet another destination. Yet Google seems to be experimenting with creating a kind of "content marketplace" for users in Base.
We'll see how far it will go with that concept in the coming weeks and months.
I didn't talk about the "landing page" changes and controversy. But, apparently, there is controversy. The landing page (an interim page between the search result and the third-party content provider) is consistent with profile pages on Google Local and elsewhere on Google, but it does tend to de-emphasize the third party in the transaction.