It's crazy to think it was only a year ago that I spent weeks trying to help a colleague find a Spanish version of the World Bank's World Development Indicators database. After numerous dead-ends, I truly thought I struck gold when somebody stopped by my office with a version of the Little Data Book in Spanish from circa 2000 with a look of exhaustion on their face. I started to ask if they could also find this in French, Arabic, and Chinese – but this person left my office running before I could even finish the question. I thought to myself, there must to be a better way.
We developed data.worldbank.org with access to over 1,200 indicators in arabic, english, french, and spanish. And now, you can find 17 of the World Bank's most popular development indicators in 34 languages in Google search around the globe. That's 33 more languages from a year ago, when a collaboration with Google first made World Bank data easily accessible in English search results.
It shouldn’t be understated how difficult it is to make data available in many languages – from currencies to thousand separators to decimals to multi-byte characters -- the list goes on and on. And if you want to know more, just ask my good friend Jeff McCoy about data in Arabic maps.
But that doesn't mean it's not important, in fact quite the opposite. For the World Bank, being able to offer more data in more languages on Google search is part of our plan to open up data and information to people everywhere, especially those in developing countries.
To learn more about open data, click over to the World Bank Open Forum, a webcast and online discussion happening today, October 7th, and continuing for 24 hours through tomorrow.
Then start playing with their graphs and embedding them like this: