The next time you search Google for life expectancies or number of Internet users in the U.S., you'll find the specific figures plus an interactive chart letting you compare the U.S. with other countries.
Since Wednesday, Google has been tapping into data from the World Bank to provide key details and interactive charts on specific topics along with its own search results. The goal is to better help you search for and compare certain types of public data.
The World Bank is providing Google with facts and figures on 17 key indicators, including population growth, fertility rate, gross national product, and energy use.
Enter one of the 17 indicators into a Google search. You can phrase it as the specific indicator, for example, "population world," or type it as a natural question: "What is the population of the world?"
At the top of the search results, you'll find a thumbnail chart along with the latest statistics. (According to the World Bank, 72.4 percent of the U.S. population is on the Internet as of 2008.) Click on the chart or accompanying link, and up pops a larger interactive graph where you can visually compare the U.S. with other countries by clicking on their check boxes.
You can embed the chart's HTML in your own blog or Web page and opt for the data to be updated automatically anytime the World Bank's information changes. Finally, a link for more info brings you directly to the World Bank's Web site where you can dig further into the results of your search.
This latest partnership with World Bank is part of Google's effort to offer data beyond that which it can grab from your average Web page. Back in April, the search giant started integrating stats and charts from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But the World Bank is the first source to provide global data for Google. The World Bank's figures come from its World Development Indicators (WDI), a collection of data derived from its own research and that of 30 other sources. The global data includes statistics on social, financial, and environmental areas encompassing more than 100 different countries.… Read more