The Guardian provides a glimpse of the data driven future

Last month, the Guardian Media Group revealed that it had chosen to adopt Google Apps to promote collaboration among its employees.

Today, it emerges that that is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the Guardian’s exploitation of Google’s tool set is concerned.

The newspaper publisher has made available an application programming interface (API) for its own content repository, so that web developers can reformat and integrate its stories in new ways.

But perhaps more significant is The Data Store. This is an initiative to make data sets considered to be important by the Guardian’s editorial team available in a downloadable and easily-integrated format.

The service is an exciting example of a newspaper publisher not wringing its hands over the demise of print, but realising the true potential of the web medium. It it also a substantial step towards the long-awaited Semantic Web.

See the Guardian’s Data Blog for some of the more interesting facts and figures to have emerged so far.

The fact that the Guardian has chosen Google’s spreadsheet package is a coup for the search engine company.

Certainly, its web-based nature and the concomitant benefits for collaboration make it the obvious choice.

But five years ago, the idea that anyone would attempt to distribute spreadsheets on a global scale without using Excel – the spreadsheet software practically everybody owns – would have seemed ridiculous.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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