Mashups – Not Just Maps

It seems like the topic of Mashups is getting a lot of press again lately. Conceptually, it’s nothing all that new and mashups have been around for several years. Wikipedia defines mashups as:

… a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool; an example is the use of cartographic data from Google Maps to add location information to real-estate data from Craigslist, thereby creating a new and distinct web service that was not originally provided by either source.”

With IBM’s announcement of the release of Lotus Mashups at Lotusphere in January, we have another example of how Web 2.0 and web-as-a-platform solutions are presenting solutions for the early adopting enterprises. Still, the majority of mashups today seem to focus on map overlays. This is where I liked IBM’s positioning at Lotusphere – while they covered the mandatory examples of map overlays, they also really emphasized data-to-data and other non-(geographic)map mashups.

I took a quick look around for some of the more innovative and popular non-map mashups and here some that stood out:

  • Love-o-Graph: Don’t trust yourself, or any other dating algorithms? Why not entrust the future of your love life to a mashup driven entirely off of your name and your prospective partner? I found the future for my wife and I is “open to interpretation”.
  • LivePlasma: A cool visual representation of connections between musicians, actors, films, books and so on from the Amazon API.
  • Secret Prices: A really cool site that combines data including online coupons and rebates with sales sites and opinion data.
  • Similarity Web: This site takes’s “Customers Also Bought” logic and provides an impressive visualization of similar products.
  • Google vs. Yahoo: With this mashup, you can compare the results of a search as reported by Google and Yahoo.

With IBM’s investment in enterprise mashups solutions, we move from one-offs and technically challenging solutions requiring programming expertise to a common business platform. Then we look at examples like those above that range from the entertainment to consumer focused. It is clear there are many great opportunities for mashups beyond the geographic maps and expanding solutions for average business person.

For more examples of mashups, check out Programmable Web. In particular, they have a somewhat dated article on increasing non-map mashups.

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Ben Lichtenwalner

Spreading servant leadership awareness, adoption and action with an emphasis on technology and contemporary issues.