Mashups for the Masses, now with Widgets, too!

Wouldn’t it be great to customize the web so it fits your needs? Maybe you already read the blog from Rob Ennals last fall about mashmaker. It’s a research project within Intel Research Berkeley which allows you (not a PHd researcher…but you or me) to actually manipulate, repurpose and twist multiple different websites into a form that gives you the information you want, presented exactly the way you want it. Mashmaker is an extension to your normal web browser that allows you to mash together information from different sources on the web, as you browse. There is a trial running now with 6000 participants (and waiting list) where they are gathering feedback for the next version.

What’s a Widget?

I was at the annual open house yesterday at Intel Research Berkeley and was able to have a chat with Rob and team to see what’s been happening since Sseptember. They’ve added a new, very cool feature to the trial called “widgets”. This is a customization tool that actually allows you to add new visualizations, transform the data or bringing in information from other sources. Eric Brewer, the lab director’s favorite widget to-date is his “wine widget” He likes wine, and has a few favorite wineries he likes to keep track of. As they come out with new wines, he also likes to go to reviewers websites and see what they are saying about a given bottle. So…he can create a widget mashup that brings the 2 sites together and actually takes the data within the websites and brings them together in one view. So now he looks at the wine from his favorite winery, and can see both the price, what the reviewers are saying about it and order a bottle all in one view. Pretty cool…but don’t take it from me – hear from the creator himself in the video interview below with Rob Ennals:

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