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Google opens up Public Data Explorer to anyone

Even small communities produce heaps of data but can't always put it to use. Google plans to let anyone use its Public Data Explorer tool to create graphs and charts.

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
Data is often only as good as the tools used to help people understand what it means.
Data is often only as good as the tools used to help people understand what it means. Google

Living amongst a sea of data can be a great thing, but only if it can be put to use.

Google plans to open the tools behind its Public Data Explorer to the general public later today, allowing any group or individual to upload their data into the tool and manipulate it for comparison or presentation purposes. The Public Data Explorer currently allows you to compare datasets from around the world uploaded by partners such as the U.S. Census Bureau or the World Bank.

But lots of smaller local organizations or even companies have reams of data on economic and social trends within their communities that they have no idea how to understand or explain. Google's Dataset Publishing Language is used internally to produce the graphs and charts found in Public Data Explorer, and interested parties who aren't computer scientists can now use existing CSV (comma-separated value) datasets combined with a Google-supplied XML file to start making their own pretty pictures.

It's still a Google Labs project, which means bugs are to be expected, but those interested can start playing around with the tool from the "My Datasets" link off the Public Data Explorer page linked above.