Google’s New Cloud Table Collaboration Experiment
Google has introduced a new Lab called Google Fusion Tables, which is described as "an experimental system for data management in the cloud." It allows users to upload tables of up to 100MB and share them with collaborators.
"Fusion Tables is not a traditional database system focusing on complicated SQL queries and transaction processing," Google’s Alon Halevy and Rebecca Shapley explain. "Instead, the focus is on fusing data management and collaboration: merging multiple data sources, discussion of the data, querying, visualization, and Web publishing. We plan to iteratively add new features to the systems as we get feedback from users."
With Fusion Tables, users can upload tabular data sets and share them with collaborators or with the general public. You can choose which data to share, and keep certain parts hidden if you wish. You also have control over which collaborators see certain parts of data.
Filters and aggregation can be applied to data, and it can be visualized on maps and other charts. Data can be merged from multiple tables, and it can be exported to the web or csv files. Discussions can also be conducted at the row, table, and individual cell levels.
As with Google Labs in general, you have to take into consideration that Fusion Tables is in the experimental stage. This means that there are probably some bugs and some things missing. Google is encouraging feedback, and perhaps eventually, it will work its way out of Labs and into the full-blown product stage.