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Mashups Are the Future
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By Darryl Ohrt

Have you seen the new Weather Channel interactive maps? These are Google Earth maps combined with satellite weather maps. Awesome. Shouldn't be a surprise, really. Mashups have been taking root for a while now. They've gained mega popularity with music and video, where fans and DJs mix two songs together to make a new one or mix video with new audio, to create something fresh.

New Internet tools have made some really great things possible, too. The cool thing about these tools is that, unlike the old days, you don't have to build everything custom, from the ground up. Your users are already accustomed to some of these tools being integrated into their favorite sites (think embedded YouTube videos). They likely also appreciate cool "under the hood" tools, when they're used in the right way (think AJAX).

And yet, what's live today is only the beginning. Mashups are about to be pushed into the stratosphere. Yahoo recently introduced Yahoo Pipes. Pipes essentially makes combining data a cinch. Or a lot easier than it used to be. An interesting example would be New York Times through Flickr, which feeds users photos from Flickr, based on the Flickr content currently featured on the front page of the New York Times. Pipes will allow developers to produce new mashups, in less time, and in new ways.

Why is this important to your business? This opens up some magnificent windows of opportunity for companies with the vision to see the potential. What if you could pull content from all across the internet, and mix it together with your own data? What if you could do this without breaking the bank? Imagine an entire world of content on your homepage. It's possible.

So, look around. What could you add to your site if the entire internet were available as your database? What would your customers like to see? What can you mashup?

Knock knock. The Internet's at your front door.

Darryl Ohrt is the founder of VIA and the chief contributor to BrandFlakesForBreakfast.com.


Darryl Ohrt is the founder of Plaid.
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