It's all about the hacks. There were roughly 25 mashups shared at Mashup Camp 2, all at varying levels of consumer-readiness.
My top choice from the bunch was StrikeIron.
StrikeIron provides drag-and-drop
access to online data sources that can be used in mashups, so
developers can integrate web services from multiple publishers into
their application. I gave StrikeIron my "wooden nickel" vote because it
was the only platform service taking a systems-level view of mashups.
(Even if they did mash via Excel!) Services that assure benefits to
both developers and data providers will be essential for the total
ecosystem to thrive.
These user-facing mashups stood out from the rest:
411Sync - Platform for mobile search mashups. Developers and content publishers pick a keyword, then write a mashup to sit behind it. Consumers access RSS feeds and data through their cell phone. This means that you text "christine" to 411Sync, and you'll get my RSS feed. Text now! [Update: You can sample the RSS feed display by texting the word "christine" to 415-676-8397 - you will then receive my current blog headlines back to your phone.]
ChunkLove - This mashup finds wedding registries across all retailer sites, not just a few, so you don't have to guess where someone is registered. The system collects data directly from some of the sites, so the retailer doesn't have to be integrated into the system a la Wedding Channel. Built by Myk O'Leary using Ruby on Rails.
MileGuru - This service
scrapes your frequent-flyer information from airline web sites, so that
all of the information is stored in one place. It's essentially an
online wallet focused on travel. MileGuru was unique among the mashups
here in that it is not dependent upon surreptitiously scraped
information - since it's collecting all of your data for you,
rather than repackaging public data, it's kosher. I can hardly wait for
the service to include future information, for example, both my
Southwest and my United reservations, whether I made those reservations
directly or via third-party site.
TrainCheck - Sends the next three train departure times for any stop to your mobile, e-mail, or even your Google search results. TrainCheck scrapes the actual train schedules for Caltrain and BART in the Bay Area. In DC, they are testing delivery of actual train times based upon algorithms. 90,000 stops are being tracked currently. The service still has a lot of challenges, but has the potential to impact a wide audience beyond the tech-savvy.
Fun to play with
These seemed like good ways to while away your time, just for fun:
Ask the Tiki - Thomas Crenshaw from AIM used Flash to animate his own mouth and set it inside a tiki photo, and a Pandora bot to find and read back responses to questions asked of the Tiki. You can embed this in your own page using a Swift object. This was hysterical to watch, and the information was reasonably accurate and useful.
PhoTiger - Autotag your Flickr photos in this neat mashup prototyped in Perl and being built in Ruby. It's easy to see using this on a frequent basis, especially it you're a Flickr addict.
PubWalk - Shows bars and restaurants on a Google Map with standard info (open late, live music, etc) culled from Citysearch. You can rate locations, add them to your bar-hopping route, etc., and that gets saved to your desktop in a cookie; you can add this to your blog, send it to your friends' mobile phones via Dodgeball, etc.
WeatherBonk - Mashes weather data from ~15 sources, plus traffic data if you want it. This was co-demonstrated with GolfBonk, a site that - you guessed it - mashes up golfing tag information with maps. With good bandwidth, I was able to watch time-elapsed video of when the fog comes in and out over my house in San Francisco. (Note: These guys won the Wooden Nickel audience award!)
More from the mash buffet
ElephantDrive - Amazon S3 storage service mashed with client storage management. Thinking of the mashup as a development paradigm, rather than what's being delivered to the user. They pull in web services to deliver storage services more effectively. They're trying to make mashups more high-performance.
Frappr - A friend mapper that is primarily used in conjunction with MySpace pages. There are over 1 million users currently.
LicketyShip - Combines local electronic retail APIs and courier schedules - tells you what's on a local shelf right now, and what couriers are available for delivery. Their business is two-hour delivery of anything up to 150 pounds for $20.
MindJet - This software company took information from Eventful and put it into their MindManager desktop software, creating a dashboard that can present information from any research service. (Disclosure note: Omidyar Network is an investor in Eventful.)
Open Directory - a set of multilingual RSS feeds using DMOZ for arts, business, etc. that enable developers to use a standard set of APIs across datasets. This is currently a research project between DMOZ and AOL, so it's not available to the public.
PeopleAggregator - Marc Canter has delivered social networking as a web service. Their code (open source) was released last week. Users can go to PeopleAggregator to set up their own, hosted social network - free of charge unless you make money from it. In which case, you send Canter 50 percent of the take.
RealEstateFU - Mashup with median home price data trends, scraping median prices from the weekly pricing report in major metro newspapers. An initial fat scrape got three years of data, then getting the update weekly. Built Greg Lin (of Frozenbear.com) on Python using TurboGears.
SecretPrices - This mashup scrapes data from both Shopping.com and Amazon.com, and has between 500 and 1000 users per day. The site finds those elusive secret prices that you can only get by jumping through hoops such as a shopping cart addition, then tells you what they all are. Nice idea, and a bit more maturely implemented since they've had a reasonable number of users beating on the system.
I also saw one old-school mashup from Brian Hamlin - the Green Maps for Northern California.
Mashups I missed
There wasn't enough time to see them all...so here are a few that I unfortunately wasn't able to see. Feel free to comment if you have a better description on these than I do:
- Frucall - Price comparison information through your mobile
- UMPC Shopper - Reads bar code information
- SpiffY!Search - WordPress plugin for blog search
- HotCaptcha + MeCommerce - Questionable 'pick the hot chick' to prove that you are a human, plus widgets to sell media from your blog
- Trppr - Public radio-friendly travel planner from Cameron Jones
- AMUMU - Creates slide shows based upon the lyrics from a song
The biggest challenge for these great ideas? We need to harness all of this innovation, and apply it such that it brings benefit to a broader audience. This means change for the current ecosystems around data access and shared content. Try some of these systems for yourself, and join in the conversation.
Tags: christine herron christine.net spacejockeys mashupcamp mashupcamp2 strikeiron 411sync chunklove traincheck mileguru photiger weatherbonk pubwalk dmoz elephantdrive digitaltown frappr licketyship mindjet peopleaggregator secretprices technology