Google's GData was released a few months ago and at the time I asked: Why is Google extending RSS? O'Reilly's Nat Torkington went to lunch with Google's Chris DiBona and Mark Lukovsky and got to the bottom of that question. Over spicy noodles (or whatever was on the menu) they discussed how Google is increasingly using its own XML Web services format GData - instead of the usual SOAP and REST APIs. According to Nat:
"There's a huge move within Google away from SOAP and even REST-style ad hoc APIs and towards GData instead. The big point for me was that GData is just Atom/RSS for reading, Atom Publishing for writing, and A9 stored queries for searching. They had to specify a bit of glue around sync and so on, but the whole thing is that simple."
Also Nat noted that Atom is becoming "the standard" for syndication and web services within Google. That's something a lot of us had suspected, but it's interesting to hear it from the horse's mouth (Google I mean).
Nat goes on to compare GData to Microsoft's failed XML Web services, Hailstorm. He suggests it's in Google's best interests to make GData non-proprietary and support web standards, in order to avoid the fate of Hailstorm.
Nat's post reminded me of Jeremy Zawodny's reaction to GData when it first came out. Jeremy was very positive about it and suggested that Yahoo should probably use it too for some of their data stores. He said:
"The benefit is that you'd have a single API that could be used to query, update, and index structured data on the web--anywhere on the web."
So interesting to see how GData rolls out, not just within Google but in other companies too. Is GData the next-generation open API? Jon Udell for one is impressed. For me, the fact that Google is eating its dogfood and using GData increasingly in its own apps - and getting the thumbs up from developers - says that GData has a promising future.