Yahoo Pipes The Internet To You

    February 8, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

People using Yahoo Pipes will be able to mix and mashup data sources from all kinds of places on the Internet into combined feeds they can share with others.

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As a new effort, Yahoo Pipes will appeal to the more technologically comfortable people at first. The ability to combine information in a relatively easy fashion should quickly broaden the appeal of Pipes. Response to the recently launched Pipes from some of the most enthusiastic techie types probably was summed up best by publisher Tim O’Reilly, who lauded Pipes on the O’Reilly Radar blog:

Yahoo!’s new Pipes service is a milestone in the history of the internet. It’s a service that generalizes the idea of the mashup, providing a drag and drop editor that allows you to connect internet data sources, process them, and redirect the output. While it’s still a bit rough around the edges, it has enormous promise in turning the web into a programmable environment for everyone.

Yahoo calls Pipes "a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment." Fans of Unix and Linux who understand just how useful the pipe function can be in those operating systems will understand why Yahoo chose the name. Even a Yahoo competitor found himself impressed by Pipes. Google’s Matt Cutts, a fan of pipes at the command line, also became a fan of Yahoo Pipes despite hitting an issue with the new service:

I took it for a test drive right after Jeremy (Zawodny) posted about it and hit an error message partway through, but I’m sure they’ll get it smoothed over pretty quickly. I was able to save a “module” (which appears to be a little chunk of pipe processing which is connected to an RSS output). Then you can click publish and you get an obfuscated url back. I tested the obfuscated url and it generates RSS just fine; the test module I made is safely tucked into Google Reader now.

Zawodny had posted about Pipes, and commented on the error Cutts found. As expected it was fixed quickly. At its core, Pipes allows for mashups of RSS feeds. Those feeds can come from blogs and websites, along with plenty of other resources that allow people to create a feed based on a query, like a search at eBay that returns a list of auctions for Chicago Bears apparel. The real utility for Pipes will come when someone creates a Pipe of such usefulness that others will pick up on it and tweak it for their use. Pipes can be cloned and shared, and we expect those features will bring in more users as really great Pipes are created. We’ll be interested in seeing how our readers in the search and e-business communities put Pipes to use.

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