The Google Public Data Explorer takes large data sets and makes them palatable for public consumption, taking numbers, figures and other data and turning them into bar graphs, line graphs, maps and bubbles. When the explorer launched last year, it started out with 13 data sets. The number of data sets has more than doubled since then and it's about to get a lot larger.
Today, Google announced that it would be "opening the Public Data Explorer to your data," which means you can upload data and use Google's explorer tools to explore it visually.
Omar Benjelloun, technical lead with the Google Public Data Team, writes that Google hopes "more datasets can come to life through Public Data Explorer visualisations and enable people to better understand the world around them and make more informed, data-driven decisions."
According to Benjelloun, the opening of Google Public Data Explorer comes with a new data format, called the Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL), an XML-based format, which data must be packaged in to use the explorer.
"Once imported," writes Benjelloun, "a dataset can be visualized, embedded in external websites, shared with others and published."
Google isn't the only one in the big data game, of course, and it's also not the only one attempting to make it simple for others to take part. There's a growing competition from sites like Factual, CKAN, InfoChimps and Amazon's Public Data Sets. Another thing to note with Google's implementation is that it is not a two-way road. Although uploading data to it's Public Data Explorer allows you to visualize that data, it isn't a way to share data sets. Google says that downloading data is something it's looking into, but that for now "you should be able to follow the links to data provider websites and download the data there."
If you're curious what Google Public Data Explorer is capable of, take a look at the embedded graph below. It's fully interactive and is created off of a public data set.