Friday, February 02, 2007

Local Mashups

As I wrote from Mashup Camp, one of the more interesting dynamics that we see in the Internet's current evolutionary phase in the re-insertion of space and place as an integral component. This makes a lot of sense. If I'm surfing the Web to find a recipe for some Chinese dish I may not care much about location, but if I'm looking for a restaurant to eat that dish in, I care a great deal about place.
Indeed, as Virgil Zetterlind remarked to me at Mashup Camp, it's entirely possible that, at least for certain types of searches, something like Google Earth could become our next-generation interface--i.e. something that explicitly looks at the world through the lens of place.
Thus it's with interest that I note Yahoo is testing local mashups. And, as Om Malik notes:
Pretty nifty mash-ups to boot: taking bookmarks from Del.icio.us, events from Upcoming, Flickr photos, News and even blogs. Flickr modules are seriously hot. They are taking data from Wikipedia and adding it to the mix. Missing: Yahoo Maps! Pretty easy to get a quick snapshot of what’s happening in a city. If they can roll this out across the world, I think they easily best Google’s local efforts.
There's some argument in the comments about whether this will take off at Yahoo! or somewhere else instead. I'm not sure I have an opinion on this, but there's clear value in providing this sort of mashed up and aggregated content--including information from social networks (although those probably will require some sort of reputation-based filtering to really become an integral element). There's still a lot of experimentation in form, type, and (yes) business models needed. But it's clear to me that the future Web will be less disconnected from the physical world than it is today.
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