Tag Archives: Mashup

Find your Latitude and Longitude

While I was experimenting with Yahoo Pipes for the Flickr photo display mashup I made the other day I found another mashup which could potentially be very useful.

It is simply called “Find Latitude and Longitude” and does pretty much exactly what it says.

You are shown a big map which is pulled from Google Maps and you can subsequently navigate the map just like on Google Maps. The latitude and longitude of your cursor is shown below the map, and if you click on a location, that latitude and longitude is stored below the map along with the address until you click on another location.

The interface for locating a latitude and longitude on http://www.findlatitudeandlongitude.com/
The interface for locating a latitude and longitude on http://www.findlatitudeandlongitude.com/

This makes it very quick and easy to find the latitude you are looking for. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an address search option, but if you know where it is and how to use Google Maps, you can quickly navigate to the locatino you are after and grab the latitude and longitude for it.

Uses

This is something that has a lot of potential use for in web site development for determining geocodes for the geolocation tags of a web site. An option, such as a copy to clipboard button that copies the longitude and latitude in a single string could be a nice extra feature for this purpose that isn’t currently available.

Obvious other uses are mashups such as the Flickr mashup I mentioned earlier which I used the latitude and longitude for.

Aside from that I’m not sure that there are a significant number of other uses, aside from just general curiousity or needing to know the latitude and longitude of places for planning say a hiking expedition.

Final comments

The interface is very simple but effective, the design could perhaps be spruced up a bit to make it a nicer site, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.

I think adding the extra clipboard functionality would make this tool tremendously more valuable than it already is, and it isn’t something that would take that much more to add I don’t think, after all the information is already being printed, it’s just a matter of some JavaScript on a button to store it in the clipboard, ready to be pasted.

What do you think? What else could you or do you use it for?

Triplify – Search Google, Yahoo and Bing all at once!

The Triplify search box
The Triplify search box

Triplify is a mashup that is highly useful to me as a web site designer, especially when looking at search engine optimisation.

What does it do?

Triplify is a search engine front end that takes your search query and then passes it on to Google, Yahoo and Bing. Those 3 search engines return the search results to Triplify, and it collates and displays them to the user.

By default it sorts the results based on their position in the results of each search engine which is great for quickly seeing where a web site is ranked in each search engine without having to go hunt through them all separately. If you aren’t in the first 16 results though then you are out of luck as Triplify does not currently appear to have paged results available and so only 16 results for each search engine are given. So what you get is something like this:

The first 6 results in a Triplify search for "brisbane web designer"
The first 6 results in a Triplify search for "brisbane web designer"

What do the colours mean?

Google is shown in blue, Yahoo in Red and Bing in that yellow/green colour. I’m not sure that these are the best colours as they don’t really symbolise those search engines. I was thinking while I was using it that the colours aren’t the best choices, in my opinion, Yahoo should be yellow and Bing should be blue and Google red. I’m not entirely sure why though, after all, the Yahoo logo is Red and Google uses blues as well as reds. Blue seems to better suit Bing, after all, blue is very much a Microsoft and Live colour, and Bing is related to both of them. The others I’m really not 100% sure about though. I associate yellow with Yahoo, and I’ve been trying to figure out why for a while now. I think it’s because of the smileys that used to be on their home page in that strong yellow colour that were part of the Yahoo Instant Messenger branding. I used to use YIM quite regularly, so that may be it. Upon thinking about it further, the colour choices are good, they are just not the colours that I associate with each of those search engines.

What else can it do?

If you only want to show the results from two of the search engines, or even only one, just uncheck the boxes below the search box of the ones you don’t want and voila, they are gone! Need them back? Just check the box again and they will reappear.

If you want to sort the results by search engine, or any of the other column headings (though search engine seems to be the only other particularly useful one to me), just click the column heading, for example, click “Title” and the search results will be shuffled into alphabetical order. Click “Engine” and the results will be grouped by search engine.

There is also a handy “Add Triplify to your browser” link at the top of the page which, if your browser supports this feature, will add Triplify as a search option to your browsers search box.

Quirks and nuisances

Unfortunately at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any way to sort in descending order rather than ascending, this isn’t a big thing, but it would be nice!

The main issue I have is that the sorting is affected by whichever sort you used previously. This can be a handy feature, but it can result in unexpected behaviour. For example, if you are viewing with a position sort, then you sort by search engine. The results will be shown in order of their search engine ranking. Now sort by title, then sort by search engine again. They are now sorted by search engine, but in alphabetical order instead.

Perhaps some explanation of how this works would make it clearer to understand to the new user, it took me playing with it for about half an hour before I realised that it sorted by both the current and previous sort option. My initial assumption was that it should sort Title, Description and URL alphabetically, then search engine should show pages in their ranked order, not in Title, Description or URL order. I do admit, it is useful, but unexpected.

In hindsight, the motto “Search, compare and sort!” does actual indicate that you should be able to do some sort of advanced sorting such as what is available, and if you go to the about page it does explain how the search sorting works, but the about page is hidden in tiny text down the bottom of the page and isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when trying to figure out how to use it. Maybe a more prominent link at the top of the page, such as “Help” on the right hand side underneath the existing tools navigation box that is there.

Final thoughts

I think Triplify is something that is going to play a very important part in my future search engine optimisation efforts. I don’t see any particular appeal in it from a general search point of view because the search results are not as easy to understand as they are in any of the search engine interfaces, but it will save a lot of time determining if a web site is ranked in the top 16 results or not and checking on it’s progress.

It is only in beta, so no doubt the things that are unclear may be cleared up once a 1.0 version is released.

Have you found an interesting use for Triplify? Share it in the comments!

How to create a Flickr photo feed through Yahoo Pipes

I have been experimenting with mashups, in particular utilising Yahoo Pipes as part of my studies at university at the moment, and one of our initial exercises is to create a mashup that takes 30 images from Flickr that are related to “QUT Kelvin Grove”.

The most logical way to do this to me seemed to be to simply use the Flickr module in Yahoo Pipes.

This was really straight forward, it’s basically just a matter of:

  1. Drag the “Flickr” module onto the screen from under the “Sources” tab on the left.
  2. Enter the number of images you want in the “Find” box.
  3. Enter a search query in the “images of” box.
  4. Enter a location in the “near” box.
  5. Join the pipe output from the bottom of the Flickr module to the pipe input in the top of the Pipe Output module.
  6. Save your pipe.
  7. Run your pipe.

You should have something in the pipe editor that looks like this:

The Flickr Module in Yahoo Pipes being used to output 30 images of QUT Kelvin Grove.
The Flickr Module in Yahoo Pipes being used to output 30 images of QUT Kelvin Grove.

I have entered the name of the location “Kelvin Grove, Brisbane” in the “near” box, but you can also enter a latitude and longitude, for example 1532727 will put you in basically the same area as what I used. However, just the suburb name “Kelvin Grove” did not return anything, so you do need to be fairly clear about where it is.

You can check it out at the Pipe page, or you can see the end result here: