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Google launched a new tool that allows anyone to make simple yet engaging data GIFs, which can be embedded in stories or shared alongside articles on social media.

Data GIF Maker, launched on 25 May, is a free online tool that can be used to create visual representations comparing data on two different subjects for example.

"With the growth of mobile devices as a primary method of consuming news, data visualisations can be simple images formatted for the device they appear on," Simon Rogers, data editor at Google News Lab, wrote in a blog post.

The tool does not perform any data analysis, so you won't be able to illustrate how people's interest in two competing topics has changed over a certain period, for example. But you can input any information manually for the Data GIF Maker to animate and then link to the data source you have used.

How it works

Let's say you have a data source that shows people's search interest in two competing keywords, such as 'Labour Party' versus 'Conservative Party', over a given time period, measured in percentages.

For the example, out of all searches for the name of the two parties, 60 per cent were for 'Labour Party', compared to 40 per cent for 'Conservative Party'.

To animate these figures, go to the Data GIF Maker and type them into the 'value' field.

Check the percentage icon on the right to tell the tool that the data you are using represents percentages, and type in 'of search' in the box below the figures to label the data.

You can then assign each term a colour – in the example below, 'Labour Party' is red, while 'Conservative Party' is blue.

Then click the 'launch comparisons' and 'download as GIF' buttons at the top and wait a few minutes for the tool to make the GIF.

Once it is ready, you can download it in high or low resolution and share in on social media or embed it in your story. Our result:

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