Mashups for the Masses

The following post is from a guest contributor to the research blog. This post comes from researcher Rob Ennals who is the project lead on Intel Mash Maker. Rob is based in our Intel Research lab in Berkeley. Prior to joining Intel, Rob received his PhD at Cambridge, UK.

There has been a lot of hype about mashups recently, and with good reason. Mashups are allowing us to transform the Internet from being a collection of separate website islands, into a unified intelligence in which knowledge from one web site can be automatically combined with knowledge from another.

But mashups have still not really penetrated the mainstream. My mother is not using mashup sites, and she is definitely not creating them. Even if there was a mashup out there that did exactly what she wanted, the chances are that she wouldn’t know it existed, and would be confused by it if she tried to use it.

Intel Mash Maker is a research project at Intel Research that is attempting to produce a solution, and I’m pleased to say I’m quite excited about it.

With Mash Maker, mashups are part of the normal browsing experience. As you browse the web, the Mash Maker toolbar displays buttons representing mashups that Mash Maker thinks you might want to apply to your current page. If you click on one of these buttons, Mash Maker will apply that Mashup to your page. This might mean plotting all items on a map, annotating each flight with the expected legroom, or anything else. The cool thing about this is that you don’t need to know that there are mashups you might find useful — the mashups come to you.

You can teach Mash Maker new mashups using a simple copy and paste interface. For example, to tell Mash Maker that you want to see the expected leg room for each of a list of flights, you need simply copy a page with airline legroom information, and paste in onto the flight listing page.

Mash Maker relies on a shared community database of information about web sites and mashups, obtained from Mash Maker users. Any user can use the built-in structure editor to tell Mash Maker about the semantic meaning of a web page, or use the copy and paste interface to create new mashups. As more users use Mash Maker, the database gets smarter, allowing Mash Maker to better understand how data is connected and suggest more appropriate mashups to users. In essence, Mash Maker uses the power of the community to enter the semantic web via the back door…

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Intel Mash Maker is that we will be making it available as a research project technology preview, at Intel Developer Forum, on the 20th of September. Sign up at http://mashmaker.intel.com and start mashing:

One Response to Mashups for the Masses

  1. JustJim says:

    Are you going to open source this project?
    Seems to me that this would be an excellent way to really get it to take off