January 16, 2006
Search Tech Opportunities- Improvement #3: Mashups
Following up my post on the opening of the search tech chain, the third opportunity that I see is with search-related mashups of various kinds (this is where the fun comes in!).
If the search tech system becomes more open, perhaps at least partially in the manner that I describe in my prior posts, it should give the foundation for mashups of various kinds (that I can not begin to imagine at this point). I am really impressed with the mashups that already exist and the amount of innovation that is going into them (see the Web 2.0 mashup matrix, which I mentioned last month, as a good source for the current innovation), but they all start with the same small set of useful APIs that currently exist. A host of new APIs will bring a host of new mash-ups (today there are 56 on Programmable Web. Adding one new API will bring a lot more than 56 new possibilities (as the two dimensional matrix implies) due to the possibility of using n of the APIs together (n is equal to or lower than the number of APIs).
One extreme version of this would be every Ajax desktop being able to be configured and released which covers a complete pico-domain, the pico-agregators (i.e., a tiny portion of the overall world that is homogenous in some way chosen by the aggregator) in a way that is not possible today. There are a lot of attempts to do this type of thing now, with domain specific directory sites, About.com, and, more recently, Squidoo (and others), but all of them would have a great number of more complete and better approaches to presenting the best most complete and organized information with the foundation in place.
(Somewhat circular) Their should also be some great opportunities for pico-agregator search engines, which would allow a user to find the pico-aggregators of interest (this is done to some extent by Squidoo for its own lenses, for example, but needs to be extended to include all pico-aggregators).
Clearly, this is only one angle into mashups and many, many more exist. The bus is headed in this direction and I see nothing but a few speedbumps, detours, and stops at the gas station to stop it from reaching this destination. Lot’s of opportunities for innovators here!