Yahoo! Pipes

It's been a very long time since anything came out of Sunnyvale that I deemed to be cool (possibly My Yahoo! about a decade ago). In recent years Google have been the ones coming up with innovative web-based applications to make my jaw drop (think GMail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, etcetera).

But perhaps that is about to change with the launch of Pipes, a brilliant application, dripping with Ajax and Javascript, that lets you "remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment". Essentially it provides a simple graphical way of combining and manipulating multiple RSS feeds, with results that can be quite powerful (or just fun). When you've created a pipe, it's hosted and available for all to use.

As a techie-type, I'm really excited about the possibilities that this opens up, but I'm also concerned that without more publicity and education, the masses will fail to harness these possibilities - many of my non-technical friends and family have yet to seize on the benefits of merely consuming RSS feeds through an aggregator, let alone concocting their own custom mashups. This excellent 4.5-minute video from Michael Wesch is a great start to that education process - forward the link to your loved ones!