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Mashups Are Dead, But the Web is Alive

Photo/Wikipedia mashupMashups, web apps which merge two or more data sources, essentially arose from the introduction of the Google Maps API in June 2005. APIs for easily accessing data existed before then, but a way to visualize it geographically was a huge tipping point.

Due to the popularity of map mashups, ProgrammableWeb’s mashup directory is over a third mapping-related. But something interesting has been happening: other types of mashups are becoming popular. Over the last two weeks, for example, maps mashups are only 20% of the new additions to the directory. Granted, it’s a small sample and mapping is still tops by far, but other ways of mashing up data are becoming more relevant.

How can mashups be both dead and more relevant? Consider Friendfeed, which aggregates your data using APIs of several social websites, pulling in each item you and your friends post to Twitter, Flickr, Digg, your blogs. It fits the criteria of a mashup perfectly. If Friendfeed was entered into the recent MashupCamp contest, it would have come away victorious. Friendfeed is an uber-mashup, though nobody calls it that.

Mashups are dead because the whole web is becoming a collection of APIs. In the future, showing an embedded map of liquor stores near that New Year’s party won’t be a snazzy add-on, it will be a necessary feature.

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