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I find Yahoo! Data tables very useful. You can access them using YQL (Yahoo query language) to retrieve information such as stock markets, currency rates, etc. See http://developer.yahoo.com/yql/console/ for more information.

I was wondering, though, whether Google has anything similar?

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You can extract info from any public web page using Google Docs Spreadsheet function ImportXML.

ImportXML lets you get information from filetypes such as xml, html, csv, tsv, as well as RSS and Atom feeds

Once you have the extracted info in a Google Docs Spreadsheet, you can choose to embed it within a web page.

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While there isn't anything that's a direct equivalent of Yahoo's Open Data Tables, Google does have two products that serve a similar purpose:

Google Fusion Tables


The purpose of this app is exactly what open data people should be looking for. It’s about defining data tables (hence the name), filling them up with data, maintain the data collaboratively, discuss it, visualize it and “merge” it with other open data tables. SQL users, think JOIN.


Naturally, there is an API for read and write access to Fusion Tables. People who know SQL will likely feel comfortable with that, since one basically interacts with fusion tables via a subset of SQL, issued via REST web service queries.

Google Public Data Explorer


Public Data Explorer has been around as labs product for a while, allowing users to explore a couple of datasets prepared by Google. But, just recently, it has been announced in the Official Google Blog that Public Data Explorer is now open to user submissions. If you’re interested, the Nieman Lab blog has additional insights about the new launch.

For that purpose, a new data exchange format called Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL) has been released.

DSPL is worth a closer look, since it tackles many of the problems which have already been mentioned above: Lack of schema, lack of metadata, lack of self-descriptiveness and being limited two low dimensionality. In DSPL, the meta information about the dataset is described in an XML file. This file contains general information and describes “concepts”. For example, the DSPL package about european unemployment data (available from the code site) defines – among others – a concept of countries and of country_groups. It also contains relationship information telling us that country_groups consist of countries. These concepts are then linked to data tables which are provided as separate CSV files.

Reference: Google’s Open Data Toolkit Mess/Wealth

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