InfoQ Homepage News Google Releases Chart API

Google Releases Chart API

The Google team announced the release of the Chart API for dynamically generating charts for embedding in Web pages. According to Steve Crossan:
We actually built this originally to use internally - we use it on Google Video and Google Finance for example. It seemed like it would be a good thing to open up to other users too.
Plus, this is an example of the output from the "20% time" Google offer to their developers!

The API is relatively straightforward to use. For example , this|Rocks creates a two segment, 3D pie-chart in png format. Trivial to then embed in an img tag. More complex pie charts are logical extensions of this approach. The current release supports quite a nice range of different chart types, including line charts, bar charts, Venn diagrams, scatter plots; plus other effects are supported. Not bad for an initial release that was done on the teams "off" time!

As the documentation illustrates, it is very simple to embed images within html as well as JavaScript:
var simpleEncoding = 'ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789';

function simpleEncode(values,maxValue) {

var chartData = ['s:'];
for (var i = 0; i < values.length; i++) {
var currentValue = values[i];
if (!isNaN(currentValue) && currentValue >= 0) {
chartData.push(simpleEncoding.charAt(Math.round((simpleEncoding.length-1) * currentValue / maxValue)));
else {
return chartData.join('');
It's a nice, simple and yet powerful API that opens up some interesting possibilities. Being dynamic also means that there's potential for (relatively) real-time updates of information.

Rate this Article


Hello stranger!

You need to Register an InfoQ account or or login to post comments. But there's so much more behind being registered.

Get the most out of the InfoQ experience.

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Community comments

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p


Is your profile up-to-date? Please take a moment to review and update.

Note: If updating/changing your email, a validation request will be sent

Company name:
Company role:
Company size:
You will be sent an email to validate the new email address. This pop-up will close itself in a few moments.