Map Mashups: ‘The Fool’s Gold of Web 2.0’

On ZDNet, Phil Wainewright dismisses “Web 2.0” mashups — especially map mashups — as “fool’s gold”: they don’t integrate any data that wasn’t semantically easy to integrate in the first place (i.e., it’s not exactly rocket science to put geotagged data on a map), and they don’t make any money (important in the context in which he’s writing).

Mashups that rely on core, culturally defined and universally agreed informal data structures like names and addresses are misleading outliers. They mask the true difficulty at the heart of the integration problem … They’ve just made it look easier because they’ve all homed in on the few information types that already enshrine some form of pre-existing semantic structure.
If Web 2.0 really is a gold rush, this will be the first in history when the people pushing the maps are the ones who’ve had their fingers burned. Mapping mashups are the fool’s gold of Web 2.0 not merely because they produce no revenue, but far more crucially because they add no new semantic value to the integrations they perform.

The whole point of mashups is that they’re extraordinarily easy to do, which means we should be careful of swallowing too much of our own hype. Great, you’ve mapped another geocoded data set; great, you’ve set up a service to plot user data on a map. Neat. Cool. But now what?

Via Vector One.