Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Google Fusion Tables: Databases on the Cloud

From the Google Research Blog: Google Fusion Tables.

Now it is possible to upload tabular data sets on Google, let other people use the data, and provide easy-to-use visualizations. No complicated joins or other heavy-duty relational stuff but there is functionality to connect (fuse) tables. There is also functionality embedded to discuss the contents of the data set.

Here is an early example. I took the data from a survey of Mechanical Turkers and imported it in Google Tables. Here is the resulting intensity map that shows the distribution of workers per country:

and the "lift" of the distribution of workers per state (we are comparing actual population percentage with percentage of Turkers):

I am truly excited about this feature. Just the idea that it will be possible to release "live" data sets, without having to set up complicated web interfaces, worrying about security, SQL injections, and so on, makes this absolutely wonderful for me.

For comparison, see the corresponding visualizations from Many Eyes:

But the flexibility of Google Tables for data management counters the relative lack of visualization options.

My only real complaint: The 100Mb limit. I was ready to upload my Mechanical Turk archive (see the related blog post) there, and let other people use it. Unfortunately, it is larger than the 100Mb limit. If only I could use the extra storage that I bought from Google for my Gmail account...