Co-written by Beth Gottfried
With elections around the corner, Google CEO Eric Schmidt might be guilty of contracting a bit of the political jargon bug. Today in Forbes, Schmidt refers to the Internet as an "an ecosystem" where "we are critically dependent upon the creation of a developer community" and subsequently "where everybody makes money." As an "architect" of the ecosystem, Schmidt is advocating for the spread of mashups, which use code from one site to develop another site (for instance, Craigslist + Google Maps = HousingMaps).
Mashups are myriad, but they come with major issues. For instance, an API (a service that helps developers make mashups) often allows a limited number of requests to the original application creator's database. An app can ask Google Maps for information, but only so many times before Google sees it as a resource drain. That puts a cap on the popularity of a mashup — if it goes huge, it breaks, a bit like a site that buckles under too much traffic.
Still, Forbes says that these web candies, and the amount of money going into them, are helping to spawn a "new economy." Recycling the old to make way for more sustainable practices seems like a logical approach, but most of the innovators mentioned ("Pamela Fox, a 22-year-old computer science grad student who builds Amazon mashups for fun") are hobbyists with little money-making potential. Learning how to mash is educational, but then again, so is playing World of Warcraft. Useful, yes. "New economy," no.
Why Google Loves The Little Guys [Forbes]