The purpose of the new tool, Google says on the new lab's page, is to make "large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate".Google, with its access to an immense assortment of information, is in the perfect position to help us with ways to display this information.
Just as with the Chart Tools, Google's Public Data Explorer will allow users to directly embed charts and other visual tools onto their websites. The charts will be dynamically created, so if the data updates, so will the chart.
Right now, there are 13 datasets available, ranging from something as specific as Education Statistics of California to World Development Indicators from the World Bank. Google has just added five new public data sources: the U.S. Center for Disease Control (think Google's Flu Trends), the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Eurostat, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, and the California Department of Education.
There are four choices for visualization styles - bar graph, line graph, map or bubble, and each has its advantage. After choosing a visual style, you can select what data points you would like to see and set variables such as time period.
Just as with the chart tools, we look forward to seeing how useful a tool like this can be for all those smaller organizations that don't have the resources to hire a full-time web design team, but want to visually display data to help visualize trends. This could be a great tool for smaller journalistic organizations to compete with some of the big dogs.