Google has launched a dedicated dataset search website to help journalists and researchers unearth publicly available data that can aid in their projects. Traditionally, researchers have relied on sources like the World Bank, NASA, and ProPublica or search engines like Kaggle. This new tool will make their work much easier.
The website takes Google’s familiar approach and design for search and applies it to datasets published across the web. So if you need to look at historical weather trends, you can use a simple query like “daily weather” to begin your research. Plus, the engine supports shortcuts that work on Google’s regular search tool, like ‘weather site:noaa.gov’ to retrieve results only from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agency in the US.
The company explained that the new tool scrapes government databases, public sources, digital libraries, and personal websites to track down the datasets you’re looking for. If they’re structured using schema.org’s markup or similar equivalents described by the W3C, Google can find it. It already supports multiple languages and will add support for more of them soon.
This year, Google has focused on a lot of initiatives directed towards journalists. In July, it had rolled out improved representation of tabular data in search results. In India, it has launched a program to train journalists to identify misinformation. And at its developer conference earlier this year, it rolled out a revamped Google News with improved personalization and discovery features.
You can try the new data search on this page.