Home IBM Many Eyes: Rich Visualization on the Web

IBM Many Eyes: Rich Visualization on the Web

IBM has just released a new
product called Many Eyes, a
“shared visualization and discovery” service. We talked about the usefulness or otherwise
of 3D graphics on the Web earlier this week (and most people agree that 3D is becoming
increasingly relevant), so this is I suppose another rich way to present data and
content on the Web. The aim of Many Eyes, according to the press
, is to “explore different visual representations of large amounts of data and
share it with others to help them collectively make better sense of the information.”

Essentially Many Eyes is a mashup machine for visualizing data! A tour of the site is
offered here.
Users can upload their own datasets, and/or work with existing datasets on the site.

There are a lot of great options to visualize the datasets, as outlined on this
. As an example, check out this
of McDonalds calories data:

As the headline for this graph notes, eating large fries gives you more calories than
a Big Mac. In the above example, you can select other data types on the left (Total
Fat, Saturated Fat, etc) and the graph changes. Also you can re-size the graphs easily.
The actual visualization rendering in the browser is done using Java.

Conversations (i.e. comments) are encouraged on the site, to help make sense of the
data. So given enough interest, there’s sure to be some “collective intelligence”
happening on Many Eyes over time. As far as the above graph goes, right now the only
comment is: “I guess the best thing to order
is the plain hamburger with small fries. You’ll get an authentic McD’s experience and not
die.” Which is actually pretty useful advice 🙂

Tim O’Reilly also posted on this,
including this great comment from one of the developers Martin Wattenberg: “In Many Eyes our
goal is to “democratize” visualization by offering it as a simple service.” Fernanda Viegas is the other

Many Eyes is available as a service on IBM’s alphaWorks Services website, so it is
still an “alpha” app. But even now I can see Many Eyes having many uses, across both
business and consumer applications. I’m generally excited about the richer forms of
content delivery and manipulation we’re seeing on the Web these days, so Many Eyes is a
promising service.

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