Google announced today that they have made a small subset of public datasets searchable. Search for unemployment rate and you’ll see a thumbnail at the top of the results. Click on it, and you get a the very Google-y chart like the one above, so instead of searching for unemployment rates for multiple years, you can get it all at once.
This is an obvious move for Google as it continues in its efforts to make the world and all the data in your life searchable. It is still a very limited number of datasets at this point from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division, but I’m sure you can imagine the growth in the coming months. Maybe Google will make some real use out of Gapminder’s Trendalyzer that they purchased a couple years back. Whatever happened to the Palimpsest Project?
Check it out for yourself, or if you’re lazy, watch the video:
Data, Data, Data
The most exciting part about this isn’t the graphs or even the new searchability. It’s this growing availability of data. I think most of the data that Google will index is stuff that’s already available. You just have to know where to look. The main point here is that there’s so much data out there on the Web that Google (and Wolfram?) has found that indexing is now worth their while, and with data.gov on the way, we, as data scientists are in for some exciting times.