Nowcasting with Google Trends: a keyword selection method

Andrew Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Search engines, such as Google, keep a log of searches entered into their websites. Google makes this data publicly available with Google Trends in the form of aggregate weekly search term volume. Aggregate search volume has been shown to be able to nowcast (i.e. compute real-time assessment of current activity) a variety of variables such as influenza outbreaks, financial market fluctuations, unemployment and retail sales. Although identifying appropriate keywords in Google Trends is an essential element of using search data, the recurring difficulty identified in the literature is the lack of a technique to do so. Given this, the main goal of this paper is to put forward a method (the "backward induction method") of identifying and extracting keywords from Google Trends relevant to economic variables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-64
Number of pages11
JournalFraser of Allander Economic Commentary
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • nowcasting
  • Google Trends
  • keyword extraction
  • data mining
  • economic forecasting


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