Google Labs recently announced the launch of Google Fusion Tables [googlelabs.com], an experimental system for fusing data management and collaboration: merging multiple data sources, discussion of the data, querying, visualization, and Web publishing. Users can upload, share and sync datasets, fillter and aggregate the data, and then visualize it on Google Maps or with other visualizations from the Google Visualization API. Fusion Tables also enables the discussion of data at different granularity levels, for instance to discuss individual rows or columns or even individual cells between different collaborators.
"The power of data is truly harnessed when you combine data from multiple sources. For example, consider combining data about access to fresh water in various countries with data about malaria rates in those countries, or as shown here, showing three sources of GDP data side by side. Fusion Tables enables you to fuse multiple sets of data when they are about the same entities. In database speak, we call this a join on a primary key but the data originates from multiple independent sources. This is just the start, more join capabilities will come soon."
While I largely understand the concept behind, I am still looking for practical applications where this service would make a significant difference. Might sound stupid, but the first idea that came into my mind: merging, correcting and discussing student assignment marks with tutors?