Friday, 23 February 2007

Blogged Pipes, Are They Something To Look Forward To?

No sooner am I getting to grips with blogging, understanding the role of Social Computing and setting up my own account on Google to keep track of some of my favourite sites someone says have you heard what Yahoo have just launched?

Well I hadn't but strangely found myself actually wanting to know what it was. It is called Pipes and has been described by Tim O'Reilly as "a milestone in the history of the Internet" Quite a bold statement to make I thought bearing in mind how fast new technology comes along so I had to have a look to see what all the hype was about. Could this be an example of disruptive technology? I thought getting ahead of myself. First I need to try and work out what it is.

This tool, as I understand not being particularly technical, is a tool that lets people manipulate data feeds from a number of different web services. I am just starting to get familiar with the term Mashup, which business week describe as a mix, match and mutation of different websites. A good example of a mashup in operation, I think, is seen here on Thinkproperty. It produces the search results from their dbase of houses for sale on a google map. Pipes then to me could be defined as the mother of all mashup tools. The main difference being, however, that it has been built for the average internet user. It has simple drag and drop editors that allow you to connect data sources, process them and then re-direct to produce your output. The result is a tool that enables you to connect to the growing number of structured data sources on the web. You then use it to monitor muiltiple listings to a level of detail that has not been possible before.

I like the idea but the important thing to me is whether it can be used within a business environment, would it improve the way a business operates and ultimately make money. I think used properly it could, for example an Antiques dealer / collector could use it to tap into auction sites around the world to price watch specfic items that are of interest to him/her. A car dealer could potentially "Pipe" very precise feeds from Auto Trader to alert them to a car that they would be interested in sourcing from say a private seller at a price they believe they can turn into a profitable sell on.

Pipes do take things to another level, but I am not convinced that it qualifies as disruptive technology. I can't help think how long will it be before we get something bigger or better (probably from Google) so the question is should I try to dig deeper into Pipes or should I wait a while?

Here are some examples of Pipes in action and if like me you want to see a simple explanation of how Pipes works check out these tutorials


TechnoBlogger said...

Pipes looks like another example of the convergence of technology that is happening as a result of the emergence of a Global Community. People want to share their thoughts and experiences (blog posts, pictures, videos, etc.), and with all the different types of media and methods of sharing available it's becoming easier yet more difficult for the viewer at the other end to access these things in the broad range that they're meant to be represented in.
For example, if you're trying to read up about a place or event you would expect to see a little more than just a written story. You'd probably want a few pictures, maybe a video, and even the ability to leave a comment or otherwise share your thoughts with others on the matter.
Pipes looks like a good way of providing this kind of broad access to different sources, and allowing the user to share their ideas through a "mashup" of what they feel best represents them.

Peter said...

The pipes demo is really useful, although none of the applications really catch my imagination ..... yet!

Will keep looking though

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Anonymous said...

i'm gonna make my own site about it

Anonymous said...

я считаю: бесподобно.. а82ч