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One idea of Web 2.0 is that anyone can use new and emerging Internet technologies to reach out to an entire world that includes both everyone in your life and a universe of people you haven't met yet. You can use these technologies to communicate in better, more efficient and rewarding ways.
Facebook, for example, has grabbed the world's attention by combining photos, video, graphics, games and groups with people and their personal information. The result: a cutting-edge mashup that brings new meaning to the theory of six degrees of separation.
Microblogging sites like Twitter.com have joined millions of people into a mashup of realtime personal experiences and observations that have turned it into a modern news ticker of life, culture and, well, news.
While some businesses have created storefronts or virtual billboards on popular networking sites, the rollout of commercial technologies to let business leverage Web 2.0 has been noticeably absent—until recently. Some of the biggest names in technology have begun building bridges between the potential of the social Web and the needs of real business.
The Test Center set out to examine the offerings of several of these technology companies to see how close they are to converting on that potential. Google Inc., for example, provides the beta version of a mashup authoring tool that we tried. IBM Corp. provides the IBM Mashup Center—the sandbox version of an upcoming, commercial application for building mashups for business. Adobe Systems Inc. and Laguna Hills, Calif.-based Magic Software Enterprises Inc. both provide commercial software applications that work toward linking back-end data with Web 2.0 front ends—software that we examined for this report.
This technology is clearly in its earliest stages for business. Some of it is ready for commercial deployment today, some of it shows promise and some provides cause for concern. Mostly, we liked what we saw—technology that holds tremendous possibilities for technologists, solution providers and their customers.
Google Mashup Editor Beta