Mashups and Filters
The era of the "mash up" is upon us, mixing and matching content from all over the Web to create new and ever-more useful web sites.
(Business 2.0) - As we move toward the Next Net, some of the most useful sites will be those that either help "mash up"--meaning mix and match--content from other parts of the Web or act as a filter for the overwhelming mountains of information now at people's fingertips.
The launch of Google Maps in early 2005 announced the era of the Web mashup. Anyone can take a map from Google (Research), add his own data, and display a map mashup on his website that plots crime scenes, cars for sale, potential dates, or virtually any other subject. Trulia, for instance, is a real estate mashup. Type in the neighborhood where you are looking to buy a house, dial in the size and features, and Trulia grabs listings from multiple online sources and overlays the homes on Google Maps.
Mashup companies are really good at cobbling together what people want from disparate sources on the Web. One of the new technologies that make this possible is real simple syndication, or RSS, which has helped turn the world of blogs and the media on its head. It is very much like the TiVo (Research) of the Internet: Users can read what they want, when they want, without surfing thousands of sites. That kind of intense, personal control over consuming information is a hallmark of the Next Net.
Related to the mashup is the filter, which often comes in the form of a search engine. If you want to explore what's being said in the blogosphere, blog search engine Technorati is the place to go. Another search engine, Wink, filters tags and saved bookmarks on other Next Net sites such as Del.icio.us, Digg, and parts of Yahoo (Research). And Simply Hired sifts through roughly 4.5 million job openings posted on the Web at job sites like HotJobs and Monster (Research) as well as on corporate sites. What all these companies have in common is that they use content already on the Web as a starting point and then improve on it by organizing it in a new way.
MASHUPS AND FILTERS
Company: Bloglines (Los Gatos, CA)
What It Is: Online feed reader
Next Net Bona Fides: The site collects blogs and news from all over the Web and presents it in one consistent, updated, multifeed mashup.
Company: Eurekster (San Francisco)
What It Is: Search mashup
Next Net Bona Fides: This do-it-yourself search engine, or swicki, allows you to define sites you want to search, post the results on your blog or website, and get a cut of any search ads your audience clicks on.
Company: Simply Hired (Mountain View, CA)
What It Is: Job search engine
Next Net Bona Fides: It searches nearly 4.5 million listings on other job and corporate sites; subscribers receive an RSS feed or e-mail alert when a job that meets their parameters pops up.
Company: Technorati (San Francisco)
What It Is: Blog search engine
Next Net Bona Fides: The site filters the almost 30 million existing blogs, shows how many other blogs link to a particular post, and can rank blogs by topic.
Company: Trulia (San Francisco)
What It Is: Real estate mashup
Next Net Bona Fides: Combining home listings from agents' websites with Google Maps, the site is becoming a hit in California and is expanding into other regions.
Company: Wink (Mountain View, CA)
What It Is: Tag search engine
Next Net Bona Fides: By searching user-generated tags on Next Net sites like Del.icio.us and Digg, Wink filters the Web so users can sort links into different collections and add their own tags and bookmarks.
INCUMBENT TO WATCH
Google. Already the ultimate Web filter through general search as well as blog, news, shopping, and now video search, it's encouraging mashups of Google Maps and search results, and offers a free RSS reader.
From the March 1, 2006 issue