Google launched new tool - Adding search power to public data
Google launched a new search feature yesterday designed to help users to find and compare public data. The tool, called Google Public Data, is the latest in the company's efforts to make information from federal, state and local governments accessible to citizens.
The company plans to initially make available U.S. population and unemployment data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, respectively. Other data sets, such as emissions statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency, will roll out in the coming months.
"Information from government sources has been one of the thornier areas," said David Girouard, president of Google Enterprise, which includes the federal team. The new tool "is taking data, reformatting it so it's immediately consumable, so people don't have to go through rows and rows of data."
With the help of this new feature, user can search for a specific piece of data such as 'unemployment rate' or 'population' followed by a county and a box appears at the top of the search results displaying the available relevant public data. Once you click the link, user will go to an interactive chart that lets you add and remove data for different geographical areas.
The data company including in this first launch represents just a small fraction of all the interesting public data available on the web. There are statistics for prices of cookies, CO2 emissions, asthma frequency, high school graduation rates, bakers' salaries, number of wildfires, and the list goes on. This reliable source of information about these kinds of things exists because of the data collectors gathering countless survey forms, and of careful statisticians estimating meaningful indicators that make hidden patterns of the world visible to the eye. All the data company used in this first launch are produced and published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau's Population Division.
Since Google's acquisition of Trendalyzer two years ago, company has been working on creating a new service that make lots of data instantly available for intuitive, visual exploration. As per the company, this launch is a first step in that direction.