Google Search Intros Public Data Visualization OneBox
Article by George Norman
On 30 Apr 2009
Following the release of the Earthquakes OneBox earlier this spring, Google has now introduced another OneBox feature to its search engine. The feature, which just as Earthquakes is limited to US users only, allows you to visualize statistics related to your search query (statistics taken from public data).

For example, when you enter the “Florid unemployment rate" or “Florida population” search query you will get a OneBox answer at the top of the search results; clicking on it will take you to a more detailed graph showing the evolution of the unemployment rate in the past years and a list of US states (clicking on a state’s name will show you the unemployment rates in that state; selecting several state names will result in a comparison chart). See images below.


Product Manager Olas Rosling adds further details: “The data we're 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. Reliable information about these kinds of things exists thanks to the hard work of 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 we've 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. They did the hard work! We just made the data a bit easier to find and use.”

With this release Google is trying to reach the goal of being able to provide instant access to “intuitive, visual exploration”; this is the first step in a journey that was launched two years ago with the acquisition of Trendalyzer.

Tags: Google, OneBox, Public data
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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