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As society has moved into the Internet Age, we are growing accustomed to having more and more data at our finger tips in more formats about more topics. Very simply, consumers are demanding a lot of content. In order to grab traffic and corresponding market share, entertainment and media companies are scrambling to try to meet the demand. As a means of competing commercially for surfers, traffic, and revenue, and in some measure, out of sheer creativity, "mashups" are now springing up all over the Internet.
What Are Internet Mashups?
Music buffs may recognize the term "mashup" as a reference to a remix or a music track comprised of two or more tracks (or samples of tracks) blended or mashed together. It is the same concept on the Internet. A mashup is the result of an Internet application that blends or mashes together two or more sources of content or data (often called Web services) available on the Internet.
Mashups are the hot new thing on the Web. Some mashups are amazing; some are quite helpful; others seem useless or just do not work very well. (1) The vast majority of current mashups combine one or more databases with a mapping application. For example, currently available mashups allow one to locate and map such diverse information and data as:
* NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament winner, loser, and venue history throughout the nation (http://www. mibazaar.com/ncaa/);
* Scuba diving reports from exotic locations around the globe (http://www.travel-dive.com/articles-map/);
* Photos and stories of the 9/11 tragedy from different perspectives (http://911digitalarchive.org/maps/ground_ zero.php);
* Real-time parking availability in the San Francisco Bay area (http://www.parkingcarma.com/its/DesktopDefault. aspx?tabid=65);
* "1001 secret fishing holes" throughout the United States, including in national parks and wildlife refuges (http://www.1001seafoods.com/fishing/fishing-maps.php); and
* The location of sex offenders in your neighborhood (http://www.mapsexoffenders.com/).
The Web services provided by mashups are not just limited to mapping applications. For example, other mashups include:
* http://www.liveplasma.com, where you can type in the name of a movie, director, actor, or musical artist and get a graphical display of related categories of information;
* http://www.ringfo.com, where you can dial into a toll-free number while shopping for books or CDs, type the UPC or ISBN code of the CD or book into your cell phone, and receive spoken data from Amazon. com on new and used prices, customer ratings, and similar items;
* http://www.celebsoup.com, which provides news, pictures, video, music, and gossip about celebrities by mashing together Yahoo!, eBay, …