Thursday, February 23, 2006

Safe at Home after Mashup Camp

Wow.... my overstuffed brain is still smoking from MashupCamp down in sunny Silicon Valley. As much as I enjoy trips down to the closest thing to a home the internet will ever have via a scenic 6 hour drive, it sure is nice to come home to small town Oregon where mashing is done with potatoes and not computer applications.

At the event Venture capitalist Peter Rip observed that many of the mashup concepts were probably too dependent on other programs and platforms to be viable business models. I think he'd agree that the strongest use of the mashups is to add value to an existing model, allowing it to do VERY complex things with data sources and serve users in powerful new ways that are no longer expensive - in most cases free. All this through the APIs that Yahoo, Google, and MSN are stumbling over each other to get out into the developer community.

I'm loving this aspect of the new web because we already have a viable travel website with tons of data but it still sucks in terms of providing the user with a richly interactive, map and information intense experience. Mashups may allow us to do much, much better.

THIS cost to benefit advantage is, for me, the very profound and destabilizing aspect of mashups, and I think this advantage has yet to sink in outside the development community, where people are really getting .... excited.

Bubble web, aka web 1.0, placed spectacular and foolish values on the *implementation of the idea* behind a website. It assumed, somewhat correctly back then, that it cost a lot in time and money to develop even modest web applications that crunched a lot of information in complex ways. Few of those companies attracted enough user attention to work as the "if you build a clever site they will come" model died in spectacular and well-deserved fashion.

The great thing about 2.0 / Mashup Web is that we are approaching a model where the cost to crunch and publish massive amounts of data is approaching zero, and the number of applications to do this in clever new ways is exploding. A9 search, for example, is adding a new "vertical search engine" every day or so. Ironically A9 still shows Google search results yet Amazon, which completely owns A9, is releasing APIs and the ENTIRE hugely massively gigantic Alexa crawl upon which you can build a true global search engine. Still a confusing world changing at dizzying pace.

Not always FUN but always EDUCATIONAL!

JoeDuck's Blog


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