Google has acquired Swedish non-profit company Gapminder that produces visually attractive graphics to display facts, figures, and statistics in presentations.
See the site’s new home page for an example of what it does, which includes moving graphics and other effects. Hans Rosling, a scientist who led the company, gives an entertaining presentation of the company’s offerings at TED. He explains how important public data from UN, government institutions and universities has been hidden in the basement of databases, but that it not been available on the Web in a search format, and that is what Gapminder, as a non-profit had been trying to pursue. The TED audience was clearly moved, and we can only assume some Googlers in the audience likely recommended the purchase. Notably, only software and the Web site were sold to Google, and Rosling apparently didn’t get a dime.
Swivel, you’ll recall is another San Francisco start-up that lets users play with statistics, and encourages the use of graphics. The company launched last year, after working on its technology for a year. Depending on what Google does with this, Swivel may be forced to focus on its paid version, for sale to companies that want to keep their data private.