Google Charts

Google Charts is a data visualization tool that allows for a clear and potentially interactive web-based experience between the viewer and the data. It allows for the creation of many different types of charts and graphs, including line graphs, pie charts, bubble graphs, histograms, maps, timelines, and tree maps. Because it is very versatile, it can be used to display many different types of data. Most of the visualizations generated by Google Charts display an unlabeled data point. By scrolling over an area, line, or point, the data name and value is specified. This makes Google Charts particularly useful for depicting geographic data or showing data points with a trend line, as it is fairly clear how what each point or area represents without a label. While this makes the visualization very clean, it can also make bar graphs and pie charts, when it is important to know what points or areas are representing what data, somewhat unclear.

Google Charts has extensive examples and tutorials available through This website includes examples visualizations and sample code for over twenty-five different types of charts and graphs. The sample code seems to be the most helpful resource for learning and troubleshooting the program.

Google Charts is relatively easy to use. Working off of the sample code requires that only the data and a few parameters be modified. In addition, because it is compatible with JavaScript, the generated graphs can easily be integrated into a website. Basic familiarly with reading and writing programs is assumed to create visualizations in Google Charts. Because this tool is designed to be used largely for graphics that are integrated into webpages, this seems like a skillset that most prospective users would have. That said, the modifications that need to be made to the code to generate simple graphs, such as pie charts and bar graphs, seem like they would be very straightforward, even for someone with little or no programming background.

I would recommend Google Charts to someone with basic programming knowledge who is looking for an easy to use tool to cleanly and interactively depict their data. The pie charts and line graphs are depicted in the most user-friendly and informational way to the viewer. However, there are many tools that allow you to easily make these types of graphs. By contrast, the Geo Chart and Map displays create visualizations that do not show data labels unless you scroll over them, which can be confusing or may be beneficial, depending of the type and quantity of data being depicted. However, this tool allows for these visualizations to be made much more easily than other programs I’ve seen. Therefore, I think it could be very useful for people making these types of charts. Even for complex data sets, this may be a good tool for someone to use to initially visualize their data and uncover trends. Because Google Charts is very fast and easy to use, I will likely be using it at some point in uncovering or presenting my final data story. It is a much more effective presentation method for some datasets than others, but it is still useful as a tool to see the same data presented in different ways and to uncover trends when developing a data story.

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