Google Code Opens Cool Chart API
Generating a chart for a web page is as simple as passing some variables to Google in an HTTP request.
Everyone loves the visual appeal of charts. It’s hard to imagine Microsoft’s PowerPoint or the latest issue of USA Today without a chart or two. They get attention, and when crafted properly convey information rapidly to the viewer.
Google thinks web publishers should be able to do this easily for their visitors. At the Google Code blog, Steve Crossan announced the debut of the Google Chart API.
"No state, no calls, just send your data in an http request and get a png image graph back. Embed the request in an img tag and you’re done. We currently support line charts, bar charts, pie charts, scatter plots, and sparklines," said Crossnan.
The API stemmed from Google’s internal development of it to use in their other services, like Finance and Video. Crossnan said the project started as one of those fabled 20-percent-time projects in Google’s Zurich operations.
Garett Rogers at Googling Google applauded the Chart API, but questioned its long-term value to Google.
"It’s hard to imagine what the business model for this one is. Google’s basically just offering up free CPU power and bandwidth for charts without any chance of recovering their costs," he wrote.
The prudent site publisher will likely do a chart call and simply store the resulting image locally, which would remove the ongoing demand for Google to keep regenerating it on request.