In a move that could help students, educators, and other researchers, Google searches for certain data sets now return interactive charts alongside text search results, InformationWeek reports. In a blog post on April 28, Google product manager Ola Rosling said that thanks to its acquisition of Trendalyzer two years ago, the company has been developing new capabilities to help visualize search queries for data and is now starting to make those capabilities available. As an example, the Google search query "San Francisco unemployment rate" returns a graph of San Francisco’s unemployment rate from 2004 through February 2009 as its first result. The graph returned on the search results page is accompanied by a text answer for the query: "8.3% of the labor force – Not seasonally adjusted – Feb 2009." But clicking on the graph or its descriptive text takes the user to a page with a larger, interactive chart that provides access to specific data points. It also provides a way to add or remove unemployment data from specific geographic regions for the sake of making regional comparisons. Google also provides a link to such charts so they can be shared via eMail or IM. For now, Google will only graph data for queries related to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division. But expect to see the service expand over time…

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