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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Value of SIP/Presence to RSS: A new world of Mashup Editors



I keep telling folks around me that in this new world, "code complexity" is not the engineer's archetypal org*sm. It is "idea innovation". Those who still love dreaming about complex call control and the sorts will progressively slide down the bell curve of the future.

First there was Yahoo Pipes - a great new 'tool' to allow developers to build on existing web resources and create a chained service by piping RSS feeds. Now, there is Google Mashup Editor (GME), Google's response to the innovation shown by the Yahoo team. Frankly, GME takes 'mashup' creation a notch higher. By exposing a programmable interface and letting us chain RSS feeds and link it to HTML, CSS and Javascript code, Google has effectively allowed us much more creativity, including service form factor (how it will look). This is truly the beginning of web 2.0 based Service Creation Environments and is a place to watch.

But anyway, how about the following service:

'Trackit' is a presence publishing system that allows different Presentities to update their presence state periodically. Presentities that publish their state also specify access rules which govern who can read this presence. Pete is a paid subscriber to 'Trackit' and decides to offer a 'Map & Track' service on top of Trackit and GoogleMaps like so:Users who use Trackit can now use Pete's service, where they can track each other's presence location and presence state on google's scrolling maps. And this is just the beginning. Later, Pete decides to also add traffic information on the map, so users can not only see each other's location and presence sate, but also traffic in that area (So Mary knows Joe is 2 miles away, and is in heavy traffic)

Now what if all of this could be done in 10-15 lines of code by Pete ? This is made possible by the fantastic new generation tools like GME. What is missing now, is mapping the SIP presence state of the users into an RSS feed, so that 3rd party developers can continue to use the existing framework to integrate relevant SIP state into their mash applications.
Motivated by this concept, I wrote up this Internet Draft titled "Motivation for RSS Feed for Presence State". Take a look and comment, if you'd like.

Abstract:

RSS Feeds have always played an important role in providing userscontent related updates typically of Websites without having to visit those websites manually. Typical examples of RSS usage include users 'subscribing' to the RSS feed of a website, say, CNN.com andthereby automatically receiving 'news headlines' then the contentchanges. Recently, there have been significant innovations (such asYahoo Pipes and Google Mash-up Editor) where RSS feeds fromdifferent sources have been combined to produce new services in a'Web Based Service Creation Environment' model allowing users tocreate interesting services building on top of 'primitives' that canbe represented on the Web.This document describes the motivation for an RSS feed for Presenceinformation, which the authors believe would be useful to create newservices using a similar environment described above.

In short, SIP goes far beyond voice. SIP has a wealth of information in it which adds a very rich dimension to creating combined services. I could go on and on with other examples, but not in this post.

And here is a demo of the Trackit service in the draft, written in GME:

Try it out:

http://rsspresence.googlemashups.com/

Screen shot: (GME does not yet allow the mashups to be listed on external sites)

Saturday, June 2, 2007

License plate reading with Google Street Views



Everytime I wonder if there is anything left to do on these new generation of scrollable maps by Google and Yahoo, one of them surprise me. The latest is the neat addition of Google Maps street view (here) where you can see real street images and navigate around.

But the level of detail captured is, well, um, surprising. See for example a car that was parked on the street on one of their street maps. I can easily read the license plate even without enhancing. But see the enhanced image too - no special tools - just some sharpening and saturation. Infact, the image was so readable, I masked a part of it with a black box in this version.



At this level of detail, for all those folks doing things you should not be, watch out, you are on a world-wide candid camera :-)



(click on image for larger view)