Rationally predictable

19Aug09

A great article from google about search trends.

“Over half of the most popular Google search queries are predictable in a 12 month ahead forecast, with a mean absolute prediction error of about 12%.”

So what about the other half?

There is a clear association between the existence of seasonality patterns and higher predictability, as well as an association between high levels of outliers and lower predictability. For the Entertainment category that has typically less seasonal search behavior as well as relatively higher number of singular spikes of interest, we have seen a predictability of 35%, where as the category of Travel with a very seasonal behavior and lower tendency for short spikes of interest had a predictability of 65%.

Some can be tracked – see the cool flu trends and how they work around the world.

And trends can be seen historically. See how the peak of Swine Flu interest online has failed to follow the reality of the outbreak’s very real spread (as witnessed anecdotally in London).

There is so much we can learn from a business opportunity point of view through google’s vast database of global information seeking. Search really can be a pivotal element in business intelligence. I don’t believe it is yet.

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