Google launches Data Explorer

Google Public Data Explorer, a new powerful visualization tool that lets you explore, visualize and share data in a “Gapminder-like” manner, was launched by Google earlier this week.

Population without access to improved water source

The new tool lets you explore data from a number of data providers such as World Bank, EuroStat, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statisitics and U.S. Census Bureau through “Bubble-charts”, maps, bar- or line charts, that you can share on your blog, web page or other media.

Three years ago, Google acquired Trendalyzer – the technology behind Gapminder World – from Gapminder. Since then, they have launched Motion Chart (a gadget that lets you make charts from you own data) and a public data search function that make it easier to find public data in a normal google search.

The new Public Data Explorer is still a Google Labs-project, which means that it is till work in progress. We hope that more data providers will make their data available through this technology to increase the use of data in the general discussion about the world.

More examples of what you can do:

Unemployment (total and in per cent) in the US

Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the U.S.

New Google feature: “public data search”

Google has just launched a new search feature that makes it possible to search and compare public data in an interactive graph. In this first version, data for unemployment, for all US states and districts, are available and the results are very interesting:
Click this link to see and investigate US unemployment rate

Also read Google’s official announcement:
Google Blog: Adding search power to public data

Upload data

Please contact Gapminder if you or your organization has data that might be interesting to display in Gapminder World or a similar graph. Please explain the type of data you have and how it was collected and we will see how and if it can be displayed in a Gapminder graph. Typically such a display requires data for countries available over a longer period of time

Google Motion Chart

The easiest way to convert your data into a Gapminder-like bubble graph is to use Motion Chart from Google. Motion Chart is a free ‘gadget’ for Google Spreadsheet (an online spreadsheet similar to Excel). You simply require a free Google Account to use this functionality.

Here is a quick guide on how to use the Motion Chart Gadget »

For advanced users

For advanced users with a knowledge of JavaScript, Motion Chart is available through Google Vizualisation API. This allows you to embed Motion Chart on your own website and does not require uploading the data to Google’s servers.

Read more about the Google Visualization API »


Gapminder was founded in Stockholm on 25 February 2005 by Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and Hans Rosling. In 2006, Hans gave his first TED talk, called, “The best statistics you’ve ever seen”. It became one of the most watched TED talks ever. 

Since its founding, Gapminder has developed several innovative data visualizations. The bubble chart software Trendalyzer was acquired by Google in 2007 and Gapminder’s team moved to Google’s headquarters in California. Whilst there, the team integrated Trendalyzer into Google’s infrastructure, and also improved Google’s search to show better results for global statistics from big data providers. 

In 2010, Anna and Ola returned to Gapminder to develop free teaching materials. To prioritize, they decided to test what people were wrong about. They discovered that people were wrong about almost everything they were tested on and so the Ignorance Project was born, with the mission of trying to figure out what people were wrong about and why. Materials were then developed to help people improve their knowledge to become more fact-based. 

In 2016, Gapminder launched Dollar Street, a photo project where homes from all over the world were systematically documented and ordered by income, where the poorest live to the left and the richest to the right. 

Also in 2016, Anna, Ola and Hans started writing the book Factfulness, which was published in 2018, one year after Hans passed away from pancreatic cancer. When the book was published it became an international bestseller immediately and has sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide and is translated into 45 languages. 

The next phase of the Gapminder journey is to scale up its Ignorance project and release an app where people can take tests and learn important global facts. Since the coronavirus became a pandemic, Gapminder has begun to spend more time trying to understand and explain the virus and our responses to it.

Gapminder’s main focus is to: 

  • Find (and fix) systematic misconceptions about global trends and proportions. 
  • Keep our tools (like the bubble chart and Dollar Street) up-to-date and freely available.
  • Explore and develop new ways of explaining important global trends and proportions to make them easier to understand. 

Gapminder does not award any grants. It is an operating foundation that provides services as defined by the board, sometimes in collaboration with universities, UN organizations, public agencies, and non-government organizations.