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Mashups and Ubiquity

April 11, 2009

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the idea of a mashup from music. A favorite example is The Grey Album, a mashup by DJ Danger Mouse first released in 2004. The Grey Album mixes Jay-Z’s vocals from The Black Album and the The Beatles’ instrumentals from The White Album, creating a new work by combining two older ones. The Grey Album also created quite a controversy when EMI attempted to halt distribution and ignited an internet copyright debate.

But the definition I’m going for is Wiki’s disambiguous Mashup(web application hybrid). Although, if you understand how it works with music you’ll have no trouble grasping the concept of in internet mashup. As defined by wikipedia, a mashup is “a Web application that combines data from one or more sources into a single integrated tool.”

And now, an example: say you’re a university of oregon senior graduating in a couple of months. You want to move to portland, and you want to live close to your work because you can’t afford car insurance. Where do you go on the web to find the answer? Well, craigslist is probably the best place to find open apartments, but it’s hardly organized, and only occasionally do the posters have enough foresight to include a google map. So you’re stuck flipping between tabs, copying, pasting, and searching. Or you could just go to housingmaps where someone has created a mashup that maps the craigslist locations on google maps according to rent bracket. This is possible because both craigslist and google maps have open APIs (application programming interface) that allows a program to access the tools that the website offers.*

But this is more than just cool, it’s the future of the internet. Don’t believe me? Watch this video:

But there’s an even easier option for Firefox user. Ubiquity, currently in it’s beta testing, is an addon that can tap open APIs without even writing code! All you have to do is press option+space and then type in the mashup you would like to use. Ubiquity promises to make creating a mashup as easy as writing an email. I’m out of time, but you can learn more from Mozilla Labs (there’s a video if you’re only barely interested).

… michael schoenfelder

*For more genius mashups go to MashupAwards where they handout an award every single day for best mashup. I personally enjoyed The Ad Generator, which uses the Flickr API to create random advertisments.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. kellimatthews permalink*
    April 12, 2009 9:54 am

    Interesting post, Michael. As we discussed in class, this is something I’m really interested in right now with a client project. The Ad Generator was fascinating!

  2. April 12, 2009 10:03 am

    Nice post. I’ll definitely be using that Craigslist/Google Maps mashup when I move closer to downtown Portland. Keep the content coming!

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