As the final culmination of "millions of dollars" in investment, the much acclaimed Tableau Software recently released Tableau Public [tableaupublic.com], the long awaited answer to Many Eyes, Swivel, and all the other social visualization incarnations that exist today.
Tableau Public is specifically designed for anyone who likes to post content to the web as interactive charts, graphs, maps(!) or dashboards, with data that can be shared online, think bloggers, journalists or sports stats fanatics. Its biggest difference with its many competitors sits in the necessity to download a (~16MB) desktop application first. Tableau Public can connect to Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and multiple text file formats, and is limited to a (probably still generous) 50MB online storage restriction. The desktop program saves all work to the Tableau web servers, so that nothing is saved locally on one's computer. This also means that all the data saved will be accessible by everyone on the internet, so that authors need to be sure to work only with publicly available data.
As the software unfortunately is not available for Mac
or WinXP, I am unable to make any direct statements on its usability (but please feel free to share your impressions in the comments section below!).
According to a published interview elsewhere, Tableau public should be "... as fun and accessible as online video." I personally feel a big unsure about to this statement and wonder whether they are not missing the right demographic, as the currently available examples seem to be more professional (but aesthetic) looking than its probably biggest competitor Many Eyes, which tend to look aesthetic (but professional).