Thursday, October 13, 2005

Google Maps + = "mashup playground"

+ Maps = "Mashup Playground"

The term "mashup" has been used frequently here on Google Maps Mania to describe the integration between data sources and sites on the web and the Google Maps interface. This term is also being used around the web to describe new web applications which mash-up popular websites like Amazon, BBC, and yes, even (remember GMaps+HotorNot?). The proof of this furry of mashup activity is evident at's Web 2.0 Mashup Matrix. The matrix shows you a list of websites with an API that allow you to plug into their content and make use of it in other applications or websites. Within the matrix, intersecting lines show you web apps that have been created using 2 or more APIs. The matrix lists many of the Google Maps mashups which I have commented about here on this blog. also has a list of many website APIs that are available. As of today, the count sits at 97.

A new startup going by the name of "Ning" has silently started to capture the attention of this new web and mashup community. Ning has been established by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and aims to facilitate the creation of mashups for people that don't have the development experience to pull one of these APIs off the shelf and start "mashing". The site calls itself a "playground for social applications". Ning will allow you to create your own mashup with sites that have APIs, including the Google Maps API. The value proposition that Ning brings to the "web 2.0" community is that you can easily create these mashups from the Ning website instead of banging your head against the wall trying to learn a complicated API. Ning has created an API to the API if you will. :)

The site also invites people to use and navigate the applications which have been created using Ning. Here are some of the Google Maps mashups that Ning has facilitated so far:
Ning will definitely be a site to watch for as new Google Maps tools and mashups are produced from this new concept. I'll try to post mashups that Ning-folk create as I see them.

You can follow all of the Ning action on the Ning Blog.

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