IDF: Intel releases Mashmaker preview

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IDF: Intel releases Mashmaker preview

Intel has released a preview of its Mashmaker tool which is currently in a pre-beta phase.

Users can sign up for access to the Firefox download at Intel's Mashmaker website, although the number of sign-ups has already exceeded the available slots.

The software allows users to present relevant information from one or more websites on another website, expanding an apartment listing, for instance, with an overview of nearby restaurants by combining information from Craigslist and Yelp.

In another example, a user could construct a mash-up where the favourite food listed on a friend's MySpace page would be accompanied with a button that enables a reservation at a nearby restaurant selling that food.

The feature would be based on the date and location for a future appointment from the user's calendar and the top ranking restaurants according to Yelp.

Many web 2.0 services are essentially mash-ups, combining two sources of information to create a single new service such as Housingmaps.

But these applications require developers to write code. Intel's tool brings mash-ups to a much broader audience by eliminating the need for coding.

Mashmaker relies on users to categorise the information on a web page, such as street addresses, food groups or phone numbers. Two matching categories can then be combined.

Because the software runs inside the user's browser, the service does not rely on the site publisher to categorise the data. Instead users will collectively create the required tags.

Rob Ennals, the creator of Mashmaker, demonstrated at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco how a travel website's list of flights could be expanded with the available leg room for the listed airlines provided by another website.

While Ennals believes that business users could also benefit from mash-ups, the tool relies heavily on data provided by outside sources and would add to a firm's data retention requirements as well as other governance rules.

The plug-in is governed by a proprietary licence for now. Although Intel has yet to decide whether it will release Mashmaker to the general public, Ennals said that the licensing structure might change in the future.

Intel first demonstrated Mashmaker at a company event in June. A www.vnunet.com is available on www.vnunet.com.



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