I enjoyed exploring the mashups. I was familiar with this kind of application, but was not aware of the wide range available. Many smartphone applications are mashups, and they are useful for getting information when you are on the move. I have seen students use Flikr mashups in their projects, particularly Spell with Flikr. They are quick, fun and provide a range of visual tools.
For this assignment, I explored some new mashups online. The first is called If You Dig Straight Down. It confirmed what I already knew, that my childhood endeavors to dig to China were sadly uninformed. I now know, thanks to the knowledge base and advanced technology of the 21st century, that children in Argentina can, in fact, dig straight down to China. Perhaps I will raise a family there . . .
Another mashup I explored is called Trends Buzz. It compares the most popular searches on a range of websites from Twitter to Google to Bing to the New York Times. It is a wonderful snapshot of what people are thinking about on a given day and could have creative uses. I can imagine marketing firms mining this information, particular by comparing the traffic on sites which attract different demographic groups.
Finally, I checked out an iPhone app called Siri. It is a virtual personal assistant which can search for movies, make dinner reservations, call you a cab, etc.--all done with voice commands. These kind of apps show that mashups can have very practical uses.