Yesterday Yahoo released Yahoo Pipes, a very cool, yet hard to explain, new site and idea. Who says innovation is dead!?
Pipes uses the 30+ year old concept of Unix Pipes to combine various different informational sources, mangle them, and output information. The uniqueness in my opinion, is that the combination is (mostly) completely arbitrary so that users can combine whatever they want without restrictions put on them by the application.
The way the system works is the user can create a new pipe through a visual editor which allows you to click and drag sources (ie: flickr, google, yahoo, news, etc) filters (ie: parse out location, combine one string with another) and then output the resulting mashup of information (with an RSS feed of course).
You can browse some Pipes, or create your own (with a yahoo account anyway). Some cool examples:
It'll be interesting to see if this a) catches on and b) what comes out of it as far as combining data. This seems like something from the future (a bit), a la Snow Crash or something.
What sort of data combinations would you want to do? Get naked pictures of people from news headlines? Pictures of breaking news in my area? A map of local sex offenders? News stories from nearby people on my RSS feed? Lots of possibilities out there....