Groovy guy Philipp Lenssen has an excellent post about how to pull data from Google into Google Spreadsheets.
As he notes the syntax is =GoogleLookup with two variables; to find the population of Boston you could use this syntax:
When you paste that into a Google Spreadsheet, Google will load the results (in this case with a citation year.) I couldn’t get everything to work — I tried a pounds-to-Euros automatic conversion and it would never come out right. Google has a fairly extensive docs page but I suspect they’re not covering everything.
(Google’s full slogan, if you didn’t know, is “Do no evil, do lots of easter eggs.”)
I would love to combine this with a scraper to extend the functionality a lot. I’ll have to look into the possibilities of offline spreadsheets like Excel — see what they can pull up….