International Mashup Scene

John Musser, April 26th, 2006

Der SpiegelWeb mashups got their start here in the US but the rest of the world is starting to catch-up. What are the clues? Take press coverage for one. There’s been a couple of good international stories on mashups the past few weeks, including these two:

  • Zerreiß mich, kopier mich: from Christian Stoecker at Der Spiegel covering the history of mashups from music, through web and video.
  • Gut gemischt ist halb gewonnen: from Der Tagesanzeiger, Switzerland’s largest daily newspaper, also gives the broad perspective on web mashups.

Given that most mashups are still focused on maps, one of the limiting factors has been availability of API accessible non-US maps from the major internet companies. Once the major mapping engines have more comprehensive and detailed global map coverage the rate of mashup adoption will likely follow (the Tagesanzeiger even notes the sites like, the Swiss search engine, do not have nor plan APIs).

I have to say that although there has been good press coverage referencing ProgrammableWeb, one of the biggest traffic gains this site has seen came from the Der Spiegel article. There is definitely a global mashup audience.

One other side note: since my German reading skills are not very good, to really translate either of those two stories I needed a little help so I fed them into AltaVista’s Bable Fish. I see machine translation is getting better but isn’t quite 100%, as here is the opening paragraph from the Tagesanzeiger story:

Man nehme frische Daten bestehender Websites, vermenge sie geschickt und richte alles auf der eigenen Website hübsch an – fertig ist der Mashup.

And here is what I got back:

One takes fresh data of existing Websites, blends her skillfully and arranges everything on the own Website prettily – the Mashup is finished.

May not be exactly as written but has a certain charm to it.

Tags: Press
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3 Responses to “International Mashup Scene”

April 26th, 2006
at 12:35 pm
Comment by: Julian Bond

Re International map based mashups, I’m struggling to find a good geocoder API for non-US addresses. By far the best is Google Maps but you can only get at it by screen scraping and they won’t currently let you use it. Yahoo!’s geocoder almost works but it has real problems unless you code the address just right and it can’t take advantage of UK (and other) postcodes.

May 29th, 2006
at 9:39 pm
Comment by: Bosse

Hey John,
Bable Fish was pretty good…!
The article was written this way… They were kind of playing with the words (they really like this kind of writing).

By the way: nice to know Spiegel is writing about this. They are still one of the most influencing publishers in Germany.

Greetings from Hamburg, Germany
Bosse Küllenberg

May 29th, 2006
at 10:03 pm
Comment by: John Musser

Bosse, interesting to hear that it’s intentional. Kudos to Spiegel. I’m never quite sure how close Babelfish is, but I’m glad to have it around even when it misinterprets.
Greetings from Seattle.

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John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.