Chris Webb's BI Blog

Analysis Services, MDX, PowerPivot, DAX and anything BI-related

Google Fusion Tables

with 3 comments

Well, well, well… another week, another BI-related announcement from Google. Jamie Thomson just brought my attention to Google Fusion Tables which got released this week with almost no fanfare (maybe Google wanted to avoid the kind of backlash they got with Google Squared?). Jamie’s first comment was pretty much inline with what I thought: this looks a lot like a basic version of Gemini, or indeed any other DIY BI tool. Basically you upload data, you can filter it, aggregate it, edit it and even join datasets together; then you can format the results as tables, maps, charts and so on and share the results with other people. You can find out more about how it works here:
http://tables.googlelabs.com/public/faq.html
http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2009/06/google-fusion-tables.html

So, even though I’ve got loads to do today I had to check it out, didn’t I? Google provide a number of different free datasets for you to play with, but I thought I’d have a go with some data about the hot topic of the moment here in the UK: MP’s expenses. This data is available in Google spreadsheet form – ideal for loading into Fusion Tables – from the Guardian data store site:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/may/08/mps-expenses-houseofcommons

After a bit of trial and error (and Fusion Tables is definitely prone to errors – although of course it is a beta) I managed to create a view that shows the average value of MP’s expense claims, excluding travel expenses, as a bar chart. I’m supposed to be able to share it here and I’ve got the HTML, but at the time of writing I can’t get the gadget to embed in this blog post. When I do, I’ll update this post to include it. In the meantime here’s a screenshot:

image  

Nevertheless, it’s fun even if it’s not quite a useful business tool yet. But hmmm… is it just me or does Google have some kind of BI strategy?

UPDATE: this article has a little more detail on the technology behind it:
http://www.itworld.com/saas/69183/watch-out-oracle-google-tests-cloud-based-database
although I think it’s a bit premature to say that this is going to kill Oracle, Microsoft and IBM…

Written by Chris Webb

June 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Posted in Google

3 Responses

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  1. Chris, I am terribly sorry that I comment here, but I\’d like to contact you personally – and I cannot (your preferences do not allow to send you private messages). Would you be so kind as to send a message to ibobak [at] bitimpulse.com?Thanks in advance.Best regards,Ihor Bobak

    Ihor

    June 16, 2009 at 2:12 am

  2. It is good to see that Google is finally entering the Data Visualization and Infographics space with Google Fusion. Data visualization is currently not available in the Google Apps platform. There are some 3rd party Google Docs gadgets for creating TreeMaps, Timelines, Pivot Tables, Maps and such, but nothing that is officially supported by Google.There are many players in the consumer data visualization space – IBM Many Eyes, Chartle, Timetric, dabbledb, Microsoft Research Excel add-ins and others, but IBM Many Eyes is the best thus far. You can create amazing visualization with Many Eyes.In time, I am sure Google will be a strong contender in this technology space, but they have a long way to go.

    Saqib

    June 17, 2009 at 3:25 am

  3. [...] to build their own queries. And Google have done similar things to what’s necessary here with Fusion Tables and their collaboration with [...]


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