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Google Debuts Public Data Explorer

The company's latest visualization experiment lets users create their own charts and graphs using public data.
Google on Monday unveiled a new Google Labs experiment that turns public data sets into interactive charts that can be embedded in Web pages.

Google Public Data Explorer relies on the visualization technology that Google obtained when it acquired Trendalyzer in 2007.

The technology is also used to power Google Chart Tools, an umbrella name for the Google Chart API and the Google Visualization API, which can be used to add charts and graphs to Web sites.

"With the Data Explorer, you can mash up data using line graphs, bar graphs, maps and bubble charts," explains Jurgen Schwarzler, a statistician on Google's public data team, in a blog post. "The visualizations are dynamic, so you can watch them move over time, change topics, highlight different entries and change the scale. Once you have a chart ready, you can easily share it with friends or even embed it on your own Web site or blog."

The release of Public Data Explorer builds upon Google's effort to provide visual support to search queries.

In April last year, Google added charts derived from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and U.S. Census Bureau data to relevant searches.

In November, Google expanded its search visualization support to include 17 more world development indicators from the World Bank.

Monday's announcement brought with it news that Google has integrated into its search visualization tools public data from five new sources: the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the California Department of Education, Eurostat, the U.S. Center for Disease Control, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Here's an example of what can be done using Google Public Data Explorer: