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Friday, June 22, 2007

Google Spreadsheets Live Data

I didn’t know you can hook up Google’s Q&A feature to a Google Spreadsheet, but you can: the GoogleLookup function “attempts to answer your question using the web, with information about people, places and things, like the population of Japan, the mass of Jupiter, or the place of birth of Abraham Lincoln,” Google’s help entry on the subject says. The syntax is as follows:

=GoogleLookup(“Paraguay"; “internet users”)

... and you can replace the first parameter with other entities, and the second one with other attributes, e.g. “Chicago” and “mayor”, “T-rex” and “weight”, “Stuttgart” and “state”, or “Yahoo” and “CEO” (Google still shows “Terry Semel" for the latter, which goes to show the data isn’t always precise to the day).

You can also automatically attach the first GoogleLookup parameter to another cell. To create the table below, I only entered the name of the famous person, and created a single second cell with the content =GoogleLookup(A2; “date of birth”). I then copied this cell, marked the other cells next to the person names, hit paste, and Google automatically filled the data (you can see a red dot in those cells, and they will also show their web sources when you hover over them or export the table).

View table...

On that note, did Google disable much of its Q&A service? Many things that used to work – like “real name of superman” or “president of USA” – don’t work here anymore...

A related function showing you live Google Finance data is =GoogleFinance(“YHOO"; “volume”) (where “YHOO” and “volume” is replaced with your values, e.g. “GOOG” and “marketcap”).

[Via Digg/]


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