Yeah, thats the question one the blog posts of Google Research asked. Truly the answer depends on what exactly we are trying to predict. Infact, I’ve been using Google Trends & Google Insights for Search for quite sometime now both for personal & official purpose. Some of it I’ve jotted down in few of my blog posts even.
Every trend that I’ve tried to found depended on search query volume. So if I’ve to find out what are the sales of Vending machines for first week of April 2009, it won’t be able to show me appropriate results since what typically Google does is it releases economic data after the close of the month.
Now getting back to the topic, now Google is trying to predict to present to forecast the future. It has found out that Google Trends data can help improve forecasts of the current level of activity for a number of different economic time series, including automobile sales, home sales, retail sales, and travel behavior.
They also mentioned that: Even predicting the present is useful, since it may help identify “turning points” in economic time series. If people start doing significantly more searches for “Real Estate Agents” in a certain location, it is tempting to think that house sales might increase in that area in the near future.
With regard to that, they have released a pdf on the same data and model they are using and few snippets of predicting some industry’s sales by mining into google trends. Interesting to say the least and if possible you should run through the pdf once – though it covers a section of statistical tools like regression but nonetheless these data can prove beneficial if you’ve vested interests in data mining.
Note: If you’ve some spare time, you can also read this one I wrote last week about *How To Use Web Data To Predict Sales?*