Talking to the Washington Post while in D.C. to convince the government of the power of search, Varin pointed to the decrease in searches for information about unemployment in March. According to Google, the search giant's popularity and massive data mining efforts give it the power to see "snapshots of consumer sentiment" well before the government.
While it's an interesting way to look for an economic recovery, basing a complex prediction on the search trends of the American public has to leave a little room for interpretation. For example a current look at Google Trends which Hal references as a tool to use for gauging economic recovery reveals another picture.
On September 14, a year after the economy performed a Sumo-size bellyflop, the most popular searches on Google are:
- Kayne West and Taylor Swift VMA
- Halloween costumes
- Lady Gaga Hermaphrodite pictures
- Jay Leno
- Michael Jordan
- Kate Gosselin
- Serena Williams outburst
It will be interesting to see if Google searches can predict an economic recovery and provide the government with a better pulse of the nation's sentiment. Sadly, when I asked Varin if the Google could predict whether healthcare reform would pass he simply replied, "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that"