Google Unveils Gadgets for Webpage

Google on Wednesday unveiled Gadgets for Spreadsheets in Google Docs, allowing people to create graphical representations of data in spreadsheets and publish them on Web sites. The Google Gadgets API consists of a few simple building blocks: XML, HTML, and JavaScript. To get started, all you need is a basic understanding of HTML.

For consumers, this means they have a dozen or so new ways to look at data in their spreadsheets. Google has put up a gallery of specialty gadgets to choose from. They include gadgets to display data on a pie chart, map, time chart, funnel chart, Gantt chart, pivot table, and on a heat map if it’s geographical data. You can even create interactive charts like those used by Google Finance and for motion charts.

Gadgets will soon be coming to other apps in Google Docs and eventually search, to help people find relevant content and links, says Jonathan Rochelle, senior product manager for Google Docs.

Google has also added new features that make using Spreadsheets easier. For one, there is a notification system that will e-mail you when somebody has made a change to a spreadsheet that is being collaborated on. You can set it to alert you once a day or after each new change is made. The changes are highlighted so you can easily detect what is new.

“If I’m collecting census data and putting it into a spreadsheet, I can also make that data available to statisticians,” through the Visualization API, says Rochelle. “It doesn’t have to be in a spreadsheet form” to distribute.

Google decided to deliver a platform on which anyone, not just Google, could build the next best thing.

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