Google Fusion Tables celebrates one year of data management

June 9, 2010

Posted by Alon Halevy, Google Research and Rebecca Shapley, User Experience

A year ago we launched Google Fusion Tables, an easy way to integrate, visualize and collaborate on data tables in the Google cloud. You used it and saw the potential, and told us what else you wanted. Since then, we’ve responded by offering programmatic access through the Fusion Tables API, math across data columns owned by multiple people, and search on the collection of tables that have been made public. We published about Fusion Tables in SIGMOD 2010 and in the First Symposium on Cloud Computing. And since the map visualizations were such a hit, we made them even better by supporting large numbers of points, lines and polygons, custom HTML in map pop-up balloons complete with tutorials and integration with the Google Maps API. We’ve made all this capability available on Google’s cloud and are excited to see examples every day of how our cloud approach to data tables is changing the game and making structured data management, collaboration, and publishing fast, easy, and open.

But more exciting than all the features we’ve been releasing is the things that people have been *doing* with Fusion Tables. News agencies have been taking advantage of Fusion Tables to map data that governments make public, and tell a more complete story (see the L.A. Times, Knoxville News, and Chicago Tribune). Just this month the State of California kicked off an application development contest, hosting data sets like this one in Fusion Tables for easy API access for developers. And the US Department of Health and Human Services held the Community Health Data Forum, where attendees presented data applications such as the heart-friendly and people-friendly hospital-finder, built with Google Fusion Tables.

It continues to astound us how quickly our users are able to pull together these kinds of compelling data applications with Fusion Tables, again showing the power of a cloud approach to data. Fusion Tables were the multimedia extension to Joseph Rossano’s art exhibit on Butterflies and DNA barcodes, an easy way to map real-estate in Monterey county or potholes in Spain, provided the geo-catalog for wind power data and ethanol-selling stations, and even the data backend for an geo portal to organize water data for Africa, among many, many other uses.

As we head into our second year, we’re looking forward to delivering more tools that make data management easier and more powerful on the web. What’s next for Fusion Tables? Request your favorite features on our Feature Request (a special implementation of Google Moderator), and follow the latest progress of Fusion Tables on our User Group, Facebook, and Twitter. We love to hear from you!