If you live in Africa, one thing that you have probably noticed is how hard it is to access information. This is doubly the case if your goal is to access quality information. Google is looking to address this huge pain point and the search giant is making it easier to both look for and make available sets of data that can help inform researchers, journalists and whoever is interested.
The datasets website has the familiar Google search face we’ve become accustomed to with the search bar taking centre-stage. Searching via the datasets website however won’t produce the same results we are used to seeing as it will now look for specific data that is published on the internet. Using keywords such as weather records, African soccer database, crime rate, and other keyword searches will result in you receiving sets of data related to the search.
How does Datasets become different from normal Google searches?
Google developed a guideline for dataset providers to follow so that their work stands out and is classified under this umbrella. Google requires providers of data to describe their data in a way that search engines (probably Google) can better understand the content of these pages. These guidelines include info such as who created the dataset, when was it published, how the data was collected and so forth and so on.
Will this work for Africa?
I think it is. Though it is harder to get access to information on our continent because of archaic practices, tools such as datasets will potentially revolutionize the way we access and produce this data. Going forward I can see the process of making data becoming much more streamlined and even access to the data becoming wider. If the people producing datasets in Africa also follow these guidelines and upload their information it will become much easier to access all kinds of information.
Google is already an ok ‘library’ but it seems they are now getting more serious about that and looking to make that whole process much much simpler for end users or is it end searchers?
To use Google’s Datasets search engine just go to https://toolbox.google.com/datasetsearch and type away.