There’s been a good deal of examples on the internet recently of experimenting with live data in visual formats. Etsy did this a while back by offering some very non-standard ways to browse products.
Here are two more. Swarm shows you activity on the Web (based on people who have registered) then shows you linking paths. You can also click on each of the screens for more info:
“Swarm is a graphical map of hundreds of websites, all connecting to each other. It updates itself every second with where people are going and coming from. As sites become more popular, they move towards the center of the swarm and grow larger. Conversely, sites that lose traffic move away from the center and grow smaller.
Website traffic is symbolized with thin lines. Each time you see a line appear, it means someone has moved from one site to the other. You can gauge how many people are swarming around based on the number of lines.”
We Feel Fine is a another data visualization that takes peoples entries from all over the globe and randomizes them into an organic living interface. It’s hard for me to describe—so I’ll reference their own words:
“Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.”
Check them out. Visualware is picking up steam.