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:
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:
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:
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:
although I think it’s a bit premature to say that this is going to kill Oracle, Microsoft and IBM…