Google mashes it up around the world

The search company's application development blends mashups and open source

Google has been touting its building-block approach for application development, which features mashups and open source software.

Mashups link different internet applications to form a new application. They are becoming the model for developers to build applications, said Jeff Huber, Google’s vice president of engineering, during a keynote presentation at the recent Google Developer Day 2007, held in San Jose, California.

Other building blocks in the company’s application development model include ads and standards, said Huber. Google expects developers will use technologies such as a MySQL database, a Linux OS, and programming languages such as Ruby, Python, or PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor).

“By being able to leverage these building blocks, you’re able to create amazing applications [in] probably a tenth the time,” said Huber.

Google with its developer tools seeks to make the web better; this may result in boosting traffic to the Google home page but not necessarily, according to Sundar Pichai, Google director of product management.

The newly announced Google Gears project, for example, involves an extension to make web applications work offline, Pichai noted.

“To us, we believe we benefit, users benefit and everyone benefits if the web works better,” Pichai said.

In addition to formally unveiling Gears during the morning presentation, Huber touted two other products: Google Mashup Editor, an online editor for building mashups with a few lines of XML, and Google Mapplets, for putting online gadgets on maps. With Mapplets, an application could be built such as one that searches for hotels near an airport, according to Google.

Google’s free event in San Jose attracted 1,500 people. At the same time, ten other Google Developer Day 2007 events were held throughout the world on 31 May, including in places such as Sao Paolo, Brazil and Moscow.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin, the company’s president of technology, briefly addressed the audience in San Jose. The internet, he said, has reached the point where systems can recreate themselves, such as a mashup editor that creates internet applications using internet applications. A compiler, meanwhile, can compile itself, said Brin.

“For the internet to be truly self-sustaining, you really need to get the person out of the loop, and that’s why we corralled all of you here in one room today,” Brin said in jest.

On a more serious note, Brin thanked the audience. “We want to do as much as we can to repay the community that creates such a fantastic ecosystem for us to work in,” Brin said.

The explosion of interest in Google of late can be attributed to its brand awareness, said blogger Frank Taylor, author of the Google Earth Blog and an attendee in San Jose.

“Obviously, they just have a huge brand awareness and an ability to reach many people through their search engine,” Taylor said. Even when other companies do the same thing as Google, Google gets more attention, he said. Google also attracts top talent, said Taylor.

Huber called 2006 a spectacular year for the company, with its introduction of technologies such as its AJAX search API, the Google Web Toolkit, and Google Project Hosting.

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