Google Labs has introduced a project to let users explore tons of different sets of public data and compare them in ways that will make them much easier to understand. The end result is an easy way to understand complex statistics and an easy way do light weight research without pouring over data tables.
To use Google Public Data Explorer, select one data set, and then select multiple criteria to compare. I chose to compare actual hours worked in labour between Japan, United States, and United Kingdom, hoping to see if the Japanese and work much more than Americans.
As it turns out, we're about even with them. You can also switch graph modes to get bar graph, scatter graph, or my personal favorite, the animated map, which will show you the data evolving over time on a global map.
Google Public Data Explorer won't make you a research genius, but it most certainly a powerful tool. With the sheer amount of indexed public data they have in this project, it should find its way into everyday use pretty easily. Go give it a try for yourself, and let us know what you learned in the comments.