Google Public Data: Google's New Search Tool
New beneficial search tool released!
Google just released yet another free helpful service yesterday to its users called Google Public Data. Basically, its a free search tool that allows an individual to do a search that will easily retrieve public data and allow the comparison and analysis of it to other public data.
Public Data Search In Action
If you wanted to find out the unemployment rate in your state, all you have to do is search unemployment rate and the name of your state, for this example, I'll try New York.
The first result that pops up in the search engine is a small graph with a corresponding percentage rate next to it. It tells me that the current unemployment rate in New York state is 8.1% and the source is the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics.
What's the Point Of This?
I just found out the information that I was looking for in about 2 seconds. I know it's a reliable source because it tells me where the data was found. I don't have to sift through a page of links to find the latest unemployment rate; this one is up to date.
Manipulating the Data - Unemployment Rate
This is where it gets interesting; now I can click on the unemployment rate graph and it will bring up a new page with a large graph that has mouse rollover capabilities for easy analysis. I can hover my mouse over the lowest point on the graph and see that the unemployment rate in New York state was at its lowest in May of 2001. It was 4.1% and has nearly doubled, 8 years later.
What if I want to see where New York state compares to the average of the rest of the U.S.? I can click a box on the left hand side and a second line will appear on the graph. Now it appears that New York has been closely following the average trend of unemployment across the nation; up until last month, that is. If I look closely, I can hover my mouse and see that the last set of data reported for Nation's average is at 9% and New York is at 8.1%. Therefore, I know now that New York is starting to perform better than the national average.
What if I'm considering relocation to another state and I want to pick which state has the lowest rate of unemployment? I can select as many states as I want from the left and they'll be displayed on the graph for a quick visual analysis. I don't have to spend 15 minutes sifting through data and running through various searches to get the information that I need to make my decision.
I'll check out how California and Texas compare to New York state and the national average. After clicking on the data, I now know that California has a very high employment rate compared to New York and the rest of the nation. It is currently at 11.5%! I probably won't be relocating there, if my goal is to find a new job. What about Texas? Texas is almost 2 points below the national average and would be a better option than California, if finding a job is my main criteria.
Another cool feature is that you can search by city or town and micro compare areas of your state of interest.
You can also do a search for population and your state of interest's name and find information that way. For example, population New York.
Are unemployment and population data all that is available right now?
For now, yes. Google is testing out the system but has big plans to include any kind of statistic that you can imagine. You'll be able to compare the average salary of a veterinary in Ocala, Florida to Canton, Ohio, for example.
This tool will be very helpful for families that are considering relocation. Crime data will be available, literacy levels, per capita income levels, cancer levels, the average price of gasoline, anything you can think of.
According to Google, you'll even be able to compare the "average price of cookies!"