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Google – public data explorer

I’ve just been pointed to a new Googlelabs initiative – the Google Public Data Explorer. This promises to be a useful tool for finding public data in one place. (It’s always worth keeping an eye on GoogleLabs as they often bring out new ideas and products. These are kept together until ready to launch – and can be found from http://www.googlelabs.com.).

The data is not new – although i think some of the presentation is. I don’t recall being able to manipulate the figures from Eurostat so easily (but then that may be because I’ve not had to use Eurostat for a while). Eurostat – the European Union’s statistic service – is large and complex (or was). With Google a couple of key Eurostat databases (unemployment statistics, minimum wage, consumer price index) now become easily manipulable. Other databases include OECD, World Bank and a number of US databases.
Hopefully many more databases will be added – and eventually the service may become a one-stop-shop for global statistics, replacing the need to visit various local country statistics services (e.g. the UK’s Office for National Statistics).
Even though there are currently only a handful of databases available many of the most important types of data looking at GDP, population trends, health, etc. are available – plus interesting, but probably less critical examples, such as Internet users per 100 of the population. In this example, I compared the UK and US with two of the emerging power-houses – China and India for Internet usage. I found it interesting that the UK had more users per 100 than the US but not surprising that China and India were so low, despite the total web user numbers in China being higher than those for the US and growing rapidly. It would have been possible to add any of the countries on the left to the chart. 

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