Google’s Interest in Statistics

Google’s interest in statistics is steadily growing. And this not least because Ola Rosling now works with Google and pushes visualization tools like motion chart and the public-data project.

In his presentation at the Gov 2.0 in Washington (September 2009) Ola Rosling presents theese tools: Ola Rosling, “Seeing Data as Change Over Time”

Accessing the data

How will Google access public data? The preference is bulk downloads:

Modes of Data Access
Modes of Data Access

Really? We all know the risks of this: It’s manual work (isn’t it?), it needs resources, it’s repetitive … . With APIs and a standardized format like RDF and open silos (!)  the future could begin … . See the remarks in this article ‘Official statistics beyond Web 2.0: Challenges, rewards and risks to come’.

Sources for Google’s public data are the U.S Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also EUROSTAT is mentioned by Ola Rosling. What’s next? OECD and UN for much more country data? Will Google with its excellent internet presence become an important provider of international public data? So welcome Stats Google in the family….

More about Gov 2.0 in this blogstats post.

And about the public-data project there is a good description by Ola Rosling in the Googleblog ‘Adding search power to public data’

In addition, there is Google Internet Stats

On September 9th 2009 Google UK  quietly launched a microsite with statistics about the internet from a variety of sources. The statistics are divided into five sections: Technology, Macro Economic Trends, Media Landscape, Media Consumption and Consumer Trends.


There are various sources:, BARB, BusinessWeek, Coke, Commission of the European Communities, Comscore, Core Metrics, Datamonitor, Deloitte, The Economist, eMarketer, Enders Analysis, Eurostat, Film Distributors Association, Financial Times, Forrester, GFK, Google Insights for Search,, Guardian,, Hitwise, IAB, IFPI, IMF, Internet Retailing,, JP Morgan, KMPG, Media & Marketing, Mediascope Europe, Mindshare, Motorola, Net Imperative, New York Magazine, Nielsen, NMA, Ofcom, Ipsos MediaCT, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, QuickPlay Media Inc., Retail Week, Reuters, TGI Net, Times Online, TNS, Verdict Research, Wall Street Journal, WARC, YouTube, ZenithOptimedia, GM

One thought on “Google’s Interest in Statistics

  1. It would be interesting to see whether Google class semantically linked data as the same as “traditional” API. As your paper suggests, it could become something quite different.

    In the UK, Sir Tim and Prof. Nigel Shadbolt are advising the Government on how to “make public data public”, using the semantic web. Developers are trying things out, and discovering that statistical datasets are not so easy to represent in rdf triples. The work is led by computer scientists, who are mostly not statisticians – there is a real need for more statistical contributions, otherwise the work that went into SDMX will get lost in the semantic rush.

    I’d like to see this become a more international effort – you can apply to join the trial development community here:

    Simon Field

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