How Google Chart Tools Can Help You Visualize Your Data

Google Chart Tools is the search giant's bundling of the Google Chart API and Google Visualization API. These tools create the perfect means for businesses and students to visualize data on websites as well as other types of presentations.

If you are not familiar with the Google Chart API or Visualization API provided by Google Chart Tools, Google describes these APIs in the announcement from 2010 as follows:

"The Chart API provides Image Charts which are rendered by a Google chart server in response to a simple URL request. The Visualization API provides Interactive charts which are rendered on the browser using a Google developed JavaScript Library."

The Google Visualization API has come a long way since its introduction back in 2008 and now includes greater customization, Controls and Dashboards, Dynamic Data and a Rich Gallery. In addition, data can be retrieved locally from the web browser, from web applications such as Google Spreadsheets and Google Fusion Tables, or directly from a custom database.

Here are a few examples of the types of interactive data visualization solutions available:

Pie Chart - A tooltip is displayed on hover showing the data of each slice. The data can be displayed as a percentage, quantitative value or slice name.

Google Chart Tools Pie Chart

Bar Chart - A tooltip is displayed on hover showing the data of each bar. For a vertical version of this chart, see the Column Chart.

Google Chart Tools Bar Chart

Area Chart - A tooltip is displayed on hover showing the data of each chart point.

Google Chart Tools Area Chart

Candlestick Chart - Shows an opening and closing value overlaid on top of a total variance. This type of chart is sometimes used to show stock value behavior.

Google Chart Tools Candlestick Chart

Geomap - A Geomap assigns colors and values to specific regions of a map for a country, continent, or region. The values are displayed as a color scale.

Google Chart Tools Geomap

These are just a few of the kinds of interactive charts that can be created with Google Chart Tools. View all of the available charts in the Charts Gallery or play around with Google Charts code at the Code Playground.

Whether you are looking for simple data visualization solutions such as pie, line or bar charts or more complex solutions like interactive Geo Maps or Motion Charts, Google Chart Tools can provide what you need.

Be sure to read the next Visualizations article: 38 Visualization APIs: Google, COLOURlovers and GeoIQ