Google’s Fusion Tables is cloud-based data management platform designed by Google to make it easy for people to integrate data from tables in different databases. The technology has been around since 2009.
The system is designed to further ease data collaboration and integration process. It is focused on combining the areas of data management and collaboration by making the possibility to merge multiple data sources, discussion of the data, web publishing, visualisation and querying easier for users.
“If you think about databases, they’re very much focused on giving very high performance SQL [query] processing and high throughput transactions, which is great…what we’ve been trying to do is take a different angle on this,” said Alon Halevy, a software engineer at Google. “We try to support collaboration among people.”
Using Fusion Tables, users can insert tables from their databases and share them with other users. This circumvents the semantic heterogeneity problems that happen when you are trying to merge data from a variety of sources.
“Data integration has always been a challenge,” Halevy said. “Taking two tables from one database and joining them together versus taking two tables from different databases and joining them together are very, very different kinds of activities. The reason is you usually design a database in such a way that your tables will merge very easily…(but) when two people develop databases independently it’s a much bigger challenge.”
This technology makes it easy for users to aggregate and data and also visualise it on Google Maps as well as other visualisation offered with the Google Visualisation API. Additionally, users can easily discuss the data with those they have shared it with the aid of the chat feature. When a collaborator with permission to make changes edits the data, viewers will be able to see the change as a part of the trail of discussion.
In the present version, it will be easier for users to upload a tabular data set of 100MB each. Every user is allowed a maximum of 250mb of data. The files uploaded can be CSVfiles and spreadsheets (.xls or Google Spreadsheets).
“What our goal has been is (to) remove that boundary of a database,” Halevy said. “If I develop a database table today and you develop a database table, and (then) we discover a few months later that they are actually related to each other, then let’s make it very, very easy for us to fuse the data from these two tables.”
Fusion Tables became a default feature in Google docs since the update of 2011.