When I initially planned to talk about IBM's (NYSE:IBM) "Many Eyes" website, I was going to focus on how IBM consultants could exploit the insights (and labor) of the Internet's collective wisdom to better serve its consulting-services clients. But after visiting the site, I became convinced that it might also be a useful tool for investors like you and me.

IBM has been testing Many Eyes since early January. The general idea is to allow anyone to import a set of data, which others can then manipulate and present in a variety of ways to allow unique insights to unfold. And if investors are constantly looking for new ways to parse information in the hopes of gleaning some undiscovered but profitable insight, Many Eyes could surely become a useful tool in making our financial decisions.

For example, I have written a lot lately about how a number of leading companies, including General Electric (NYSE:GE), Alcoa (NYSE:AA), and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), are positioning themselves to profit in an environment that imposes stricter limits on carbon emissions. This Many Eyes chart makes it clear if Germany or Japan introduced such restrictions, it wouldn't be nearly as significant as having the U.S. or China do the same. Armed with this information in advance, investors could react in a more appropriate manner than the rest of the market in case a certain country does impose such regulations.

Or perhaps you're interested finding the next big opportunities in emerging markets. This chart on venture-capital spending in Turkey suggests that that country has at least captured the attention of venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

A final example comes from Second Life, the new virtual-reality world created by Linden Labs. Firms such as Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) are all establishing a presence on Second Life, but if a company indicates that it's now receiving a higher percentage of its online sales in the Netherlands than Brazil from its Second Life presence, this visualization could help investors put that information in a more useful context.

Of course, at the present time, it will be important to verify from where and whom the underlying data is being submitted. But if the data is solid, this new site could help investors visualize some new opportunities before the rest of the crowd catches on.

Interested in reading more about IBM? Check out these articles:

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Fool contributor Jack Uldrich owns stock in both Intel and IBM. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.