Visual.ly launched recently with a great deal of fanfare. As the promotional video below explains, Visual.ly was "built to showcase great visualizations" and "is a community for exploring, sharing, creating and promoting great visualizations".
Visual.ly has partnered with several organisations, such as National Geographic, Good Magazine, JESS3 and Column Five Media, who routinely produce high quality infographics and visualizations. So, at launch Visual.ly had a couple of thousand visualizations in its showcase. As you'd expect Visual.ly provides all the tools you'd expect of a community web-site; you can comment on, like, share and embed any of the visualizations hosted by Visual.ly
However, Visual.ly is not new. A similar web-site has been in existence for a year or more: Visualizing.org. Many of the visualizations hosted by Visual.ly have also been posted on Visualizing.org. Although, Visualizing.org has been around longer its collection of visualizations is smaller (about 500 by my reckoning). You can also rate, embed and share visualizations hosted by Visualizing.org. A nice feature of Visualizing.org is that its visualizations are made available under a Creative Commons license.
Where Visualizing.org is streets ahead of Visual.ly is their recently announced Visualizing Player, which is used to embed visualizations hosted by Visualizing.org. It supports HTML5, Java, Flash, PDF, video and image formats, which means that dynamic, interactive visualizations can be deployed using the player. Currently, Visual.ly offers only static images. This is perhaps why Visual.ly is dominated by static infographics, whereas Visualizing.org hosts a much broader range of visualizations.
Visual.ly is planning to offer on-line tools for creating visualizations. The tools are currently under development but Robert Kosara (who is an advisor to Visual.ly) was shown a demo and was suitably impressed. I've signed up to be notified when the tools become available, so watch this space...