KelloggInsight: What Google Is Teaching Economists About Unemployment Insurance. “For decades, policymakers have debated whether unemployment insurance provides a critical safety net during tough times, or whether it prolongs joblessness by reducing people’s incentive to find new work. But, to answer this question, researchers need a clear measure of how much effort people are actually making to search for jobs. And this activity has proven difficult to track. That is why Scott R. Baker, an associate professor of finance at the Kellogg School, turned to Google—specifically, to its data on search traffic.”
JMIR: Assessing the Methods, Tools, and Statistical Approaches in Google Trends Research: Systematic Review. “In the era of information overload, are big data analytics the answer to access and better manage available knowledge? Over the last decade, the use of Web-based data in public health issues, that is, infodemiology, has been proven useful in assessing various aspects of human behavior. Google Trends is the most popular tool to gather such information, and it has been used in several topics up to this point, with health and medicine being the most focused subject. Web-based behavior is monitored and analyzed in order to examine actual human behavior so as to predict, better assess, and even prevent health-related issues that constantly arise in everyday life.”
Poynter: Ahead of the midterms, Google News Lab created a way to see what’s trending at the state, county and city level. “With close to 500 House and Senate seats in play with the midterm elections, Google News Lab started thinking about how local reporters might use local data in their work. On Wednesday, the team went live with a Google Trends Midterm page with data on real-time Google search trends at the state, county and city level. (Disclosure: The Google News Initiative funds some training and projects at Poynter.)”
A Virginia Tech Master’s Thesis: Trending in the Right Direction: Using Google Trends Data as a Measure of Public Opinion During a Presidential Election. “During the 2016 presidential election, public opinion polls consistently showed a lead in the popular vote and Electoral College for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Following Trump’s surprise victory, the political pundits and public at large began to question the accuracy of modern public opinion polling. Fielding a representative sample, convoluted and opaque methodologies, the sheer amount of polls, and both the media’s and general public’s inability to interpret poll results are among the flaws of the polling industry. An alternative or supplement to traditional polling practices is necessary. This thesis seeks to investigate whether Google Trends can be effectively used as a measure of public opinion during presidential elections. This study gathers polling data from the 2016 presidential election from states that were considered swing states. Specifically, this study examines six total polls, three from states that swung in the way the polls predicted they would – Nevada and Virginia – and three from states that swung against the prediction – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.” Click on the View/Open link to get the whole thesis as a PDF.
MakeUseOf: How to See What’s Trending on Google: A Quick Guide to Google Trends. “With Google’s ubiquity, seeing what people search for is quite telling. You can easily find what the hottest topics are, which terms are trending, and gain insight into the minds of internet users. Google actually provides a powerful tool called Google Trends that lets you access and filter through this information with ease. Let’s take a look at the latest version of Trends and see how it can be useful for you.”
Google Blog: See what the world is searching for with the updated Google Trends. “Google Trends has become a key part of journalistic storytelling, giving reporters everywhere an insight into search trends across the world. Today, we’re updating Google Trends with new features, simpler navigation and more ways to explore data and stories around one of the world’s biggest journalistic datasets. Many of the changes are based on feedback from Trends users.”
Yahoo Finance: Google Trends is a surprisingly good way to predict Netflix subscriber growth. “Netflix (NFLX) stock watchers are constantly trying to evaluate the company’s subscription growth. As an ad-free streaming company, subscriptions – which begin at $7.99 a month – are the chief source of revenue. In a research note circulated Monday, Piper Jaffray detailed its analysis of Netflix (NFLX) and explained exactly how it models subscriber growth. Instead of complicated proprietary systems, the analysts revealed a surprisingly simple method: tracking Netflix and Google searches.”