According to Yahoo!’s Jeremy Zawodny it is:
a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment. The name of the service pays tribute to Unix pipes, which let programmers do astonishingly clever things by making it easy to chain simple utilities together on the command line
Put another way, Pipes is an online app which allows you to visually remix RSS and intelligently filter and output the results!
Even better, you can take Pipes that others have created which you like, clone them, tweak them slightly and re-publish them as your own. Creating apps on the web has never been so easy.
I created a quick pipe here which searches for my domain through 6 RSS search engines, filters unique results, sorts and outputs in a number of formats including rss and json! This pipe also allows you to edit the query so you can enter your own search term.
I love Richard MacManus’ comment:
The UI seems a little geeky and kind of reminds me of Ning (not sure if that’s a compliment or not, as Ning never took off). But I’ve long thought that RSS remix feeds are the future of RSS – and certainly one way to try and filter information overload
It is my understanding that this is what Jeff Nolan’s Teqlo is all about as well – this is going to be an exciting space to keep an eye on.
[Disclosure – I’m not that good a programmer, I simply took an example pipe and modified it!]
UPDATE: The site is after slowing right down in the last hour. I guess they are getting hammered with interested traffic.