Alright, first of all my apologies for not being able to do this yesterday! I was a little surprised I got just ONE caustic comment to my last post :P
Anyways, without further do, here it is. The idea that came up during a conversation with my brother is, to develop a search engine that would take in a zip code (and possibly a given mile radius) as input and return a list of gas stations in that area.
What use would that be? Well... here's the real deal. The search engine would have to organize the gas stations is ascending order of gas prices on that particular day!!! Some add-ons could include providing the user with the option of ordering the results either by gas price or by distance from the source zip.
So.... now for the ground work.... WHAT's IT GONNA TAKE? Hmmm... off of my head, I can think of a few scenarios:
1. Have people drive around gas stations on a daily basis and send back information to a central database. Simple, but not the most economical and certainly not scalable.
2. Have a "tie-up" with gas stations (thinking on the lines of mobile phone manufacturers tieing up with service providers) and have them send information to your database. Slightly better and more scalable.
3. (This assumes the existance of networkable databases in gas station systems) Have automated programs (WEB SERVICES, SOAP, XML, WSDL, if you will) extract information from the gas station databases and feed them to yours. Very scalable but, a wee-bit far fetched in its assumptions!
Cool.... I'm out for now, but this thing is gonna sit in my head for SOMEtime :-) Other inputs/ criticism appreciated!