One or the other reader of this blog will nod when she reads this statement: “John ‘likes’ graphs.”
Google’s launched a service that will engage me for many hours in the future, I’m sure. I’ve just tossed 15-20 minutes learning about and fiddling with “Adding search power to public data,” a new feature of Google’s search that allows one to display certain publicly available data graphically. The accompanying image shows the results of an inquiry about unemployment data for my neighborhood over the past ~15 years.
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.
So far the data available appear pretty limited. I’ll watch to see what other data become available. I imagine that normalizing the data will be a time-consuming task. Link for the interactive figure illustrated here. Link for the entry on the Google blog about the project. Flash of the electrons to Joe Stirt for alerting me to this.