Before there were tools like IFTTT, which lets you mash up data from web services along with other content in new ways, there was Yahoo Pipes, an online (and somewhat geeky) visual interface that let you aggregate and filter web data without requiring the end user to have programming skills. But now Yahoo Pipes is being laid to rest. The service will soon close down, along with Yahoo Maps, GeoPlanet and PlaceSpotter APIs, as well as other regional offerings and more.
The news was announced this afternoon on Yahoo’s blog, which explains that the company needs to focus its resources on products in the key areas of search, communications, and digital content.
In an effort to do so, Yahoo will end support for some of its services on older platforms. For example, Yahoo Mail will no longer work in iOS’s built-in Mail app on devices prior to iOS 5 starting on June 15th, and Yahoo Contact sync won’t work on Macs prior to Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion at the same time. In both cases, users will be directed to use the web browser instead.
Also shutting down at month end is Yahoo Maps. However, while the destination site itself is being closed, maps will continue to be supported in the context of Yahoo Search and Flickr, the company notes.
Developers using the GeoPlanet and PlaceSpotter APIs will be asked to use Yahoo Query Language (YQL) and BOSS instead, when the older APIs retire in Q3.
And several regional properties are also closing over June and July, including Yahoo Music in in France and Canada; Yahoo Movies in Spain; Yahoo Philippines homepage and genre-specific media sites; Yahoo TV in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Canada; Yahoo Autos in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy; and Yahoo Entertainment in Singapore. Yahoo says the content from these sites will be “redistributed across the Yahoo network” in the future. These changes signify more of an end for many of Yahoo’s international media ambitions, and follow similar regional media property shutdowns in 2014.
But while arguably Yahoo Pipes has been used less with each passing year, we still hold something of a soft spot for this once revolutionary web data manipulation service. Launched in early 2007, Yahoo Pipes was then an innovative tool that put the power to aggregate, mash up, and filter web data into the hands of everyday users. It worked something like a visual programming language – you could drag and drop modules onto the screen in order to create custom queries that could then be saved and shared with the larger community.
That concept involving openly sharing your Pipes as templates which others could then “remix,” is something that’s mirrored today in modern services, as with IFTTT’s “recipes,” for example.
And the very idea that “normals” (mainstream web users) want to be able to manipulate data and apps, or create custom workflows, also inspired the launch of a number of properties in the years since Yahoo Pipes’ debut, not only with IFTTT but also with things like Zapier, Tasker, Workflow, and more. These services, to some extent, owe their very existence to the path that Yahoo Pipes once forged.
Pipes creation will not be supported as of August 30 this year, says Yahoo. The Pipes infrastructure will run until September 30, 2015 in read-only mode in order to help developers migrate their data.