Friday, March 16, 2007

Google acquires Gapminder- great when can i have it for creating client presentations?


Yet another acquisition announced today by Google. This time Gapminder's Trendalyzer software.

"Make sense of the world by having fun with statistics" the Gapminder site tells us- ok i am in and want to have some fun.

I just watched the TED 2006 presentation by Hans Rosling founder of Gapminer and could imagine the Google people in the audience thinking hey- how do we get this on board with our strategy. During the presentation Rosling uses the Gapminder software to present the developing world including interesting data on an economic, heath and political perspective- all great but it is the visualization tools that is driving the presentation and that is why Google just snapped them up.

During the video Rosling calls for the end of boring statics- alleluia! and for linking data to design- double alleluia!!

Rosling sees a lot happening in data in the next few years- yes thanks to this Google acquisition i see it also- taking the data visualization tools and delivering it to the end user not power users- just like what they did to the search industry.

In the video he says that students and policy makers get very excited when they see the promise of data visualization? hey you know what, i am very excited about a potential tool that as a corporate user i can use to tell a story.

So what i would like to know?

  • How hard is it to create these visualizations? do they even know how long i spend doing slide decks to not even get to 1% of the powerful story Rosling is presenting in this video. Oh wait- wasn't there some recent buzz about a Google PowerPoint Clone coming soon?

Marisa Mayer says more information will be made available soon. (On a aside-i will be at BlogHer next week and hope to finally meet her).


Anonymous said...

I think its very disappointing that Google bought GapMinder.

I actually had the absolute pleasure of attending an intimate demonstration of the GapMinder project about two years ago when I was at the BBC. It was just a room of about 20 of us and the GapMinder crew - I can remember being totally blown away by what I saw.

When I saw GapMinder on the TED video last year, I was pleased it was getting world-wide attention but I also wondered whether someone like Google would gobble it up.

The issue for me is whilst the software is truly amazing, the objective behind the project is what's so breath-taking.

GapMinder is about explaining the evolution of socio-economic problems in the world today through trend analysis with clear emphasis on what trends need to be reversed and what trends need to be encouraged to produce a better world.

I'm concerned that Google has bought the software to produce a fancy business tool (which, yes, will be nice) but in turn will stifle the development of this important humanitarian project.

As I understand it, Google have bought the software asset rather than the project itself, but it's not clear whether they have bought an exclusive license to the software and whether they will also keep developing it in the direction it needs to go for GapMinder - which is different to that of a business analysis tool.

At this point, one remembers the "do no evil" mantra of Google - but these days that looks increasingly flimsy.

daniela barbosa said...

Good points Ben. He is certainly a great presenter (recommend that everyone takes a look at the TED video) and i totally agree that the data that the project produces on the socio-economic porblems in today's world simply can not be ignored.

TrendCompass said...

We Epic Systems together with Beemode ( have developed a Data Visualisation software ready to be released soon.

We are looking for ideas to promote the software.
You can view our preliminary version at :

another test :

Your comments will be appreciated.

Hisham Abdel Maguid

TrendCompass said...

Here is another link for a project we did with Princeton University on US unemployment :

In a few days you can test the software by uploading data on our website and getting the corresponding Flash charts. This is for a limited number of users.


Eng. Hisham Abdel Maguid

Anonymous said...

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