Yahoo! just launched a new service called Pipes today. Pipes is described as:

...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.

The service basically allows you to pull in data from various sources and perform interesting operations on it. You could do something as simple as merging all the official Yahoo! blog feeds into a single one, or something more funky, like pulling in content from the NY Times, and using keywords to find related photos on Flickr. Then, of course, you can generate a new RSS feed for your mashup and subscribe to it in an aggregator, or use the processed result-set as input to a larger application (or another Pipe!).

There are plenty of possibilities for useful and interesting mashups, and Pipes is a tool that aims to make the process of creating them more accessible, even to non-programmers, through a friendlier visual environment.

I haven't had a chance to dive in deeper yet (maybe this weekend...), but it looks like a nicely designed tool, especially well-done for a first version of something that hasn't been done before. If you try it out and create any fun and useful feeds, leave a comment and let me know. :)