Yahoo Pipes launched in beta yesterday (February 8, 2007) as a dashboard for remixing existing RSS feeds. Pipes provides a very geek-centric yet compelling application, as it empowers any user to create a custom feed. Though this product might seem simple to people within the web 2.0 industry or the blogosphere, I still feel it has a long way to go to make it easy and understandable to a mainstream user, like my mother, bless her heart. Furthermore, Pipes had a troublesome launch day as it experienced major performance issues which were highlighted by RSS-czar David Winer. Personally, I encountered the messaging shown in the screen-shot below several times.
Judging by the flood of blogosphere activity surrounding the beta launch of Pipes, I speculate that several bloggers (minus myself) were given a preview of Pipes prior to launch. O'Reilly Radar had this to say of Pipes:
"It democratizes web programming, making it easier for people to have more control over the internet information services they consume, and providing a general-purpose platform for interacting with sites that is more powerful than the browser or feed-reader alone, but without requiring full programming skills."
While Nik Cubrilovic reported for TechCrunch by saying:
"Pipes can take any feed as input, and combined with the already available list of functions proves to be very powerful - my mind is still buzzing thinking about all that can be done with Pipes."
Bottom-line: Yahoo Pipes is an interesting new feed mashup application that allows users to create custom feeds. In launching as a beta it is currently a geek toolkit since it probably will not be easy to use or compelling to a mainstream audience.