Google launches tool for searching public data

Curious about unemployment trends in your state cross-referenced against salaries? Google Public Data Explorer could make it easier to create a visual representation.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit
Google's Public Data Explorer can generate charts based on a list of popular queries, backed by official data. Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET

Google is building on its partnership with the World Bank and other statistics gatherers to present an array of data in visual form within Google Labs.

Google Public Data Explorer went live Monday, accompanied by the requisite blog post. The site takes public data regarding schools, population, crime, and even names to construct charts and graphs that help illustrate trends.

Google is also releasing a list of the top search terms that can be answered with public data, based on the analysis of anonymized search data. School comparisons and unemployment topped the list of the most frequent queries, followed by population, sales tax, and salaries.

The list gives searches an idea of the data available to them that can also be manipulated into moving charts and graphs over a time period. In addition to former partners the World Bank, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and U.S. Census Bureau, Google has added the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the California Department of Education, Eurostat, the U.S. Center for Disease Control, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to its list of data providers.