One of the great things about being a librarian in the 21st century is that there are some many great tools out there for people to use. Google Public Data Explorer is a fun little gadget that examines public data from around the world in a simple line graph. Some of the data they use includes the World Bank Public Indicators, the United States Census counts, the minimum wage in Europe, infectious disease data, etc.
My current favorite is actually the Google Flu Estimates. If you haven’t heard anything about these, these are estimates which Google makes based on user searches in different geographies. They are rumored to be quite accurate, but I’m still a little skeptical since the geographies are so big and access to internet is so varied.
It is however, very fun to compare the states. I’ve included imbed graph of the last year for Georgia, Florida, Ohio and Michigan’s Google Flu Estimates. It’s fun to cheer at the fact Michigan is narrowing beating Ohio currently in less flu.