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Search as economic predictor

What do you do before taking an important action?

You research. Since this is the internet age, how do you search? Google. Yahoo. MSN, AOL, At least that's how the majority of internet users research. Maybe you use Wikipedia. If someone were sitting on your shoulder and watching all of your search terms they would know the future of your actions.

Search as a Predictor of Home Sales

Search term aggregator HitWise is pointing out the potential benefit of this system on their Analyst Blogs. They recently posted an article about the unexpected fall in home sales in August. They pointed out how they knew this was going to happen based upon the search data. And, in fact, looking at the two charts it's pretty clear that the peak in searches for "homes for sale" at the beginning of July 2005 came just before the peak in actual sales. And the rest of the graph shows fairly neatly a rise/fall in the searches (red line) will be followed within a month by a rise/fall in actual sales activity (blue line).

Personally, predictive technologies are very neat to me. Whether it's predictive markets or using search technology as a predictor for future behavior. It's great stuff. There's a little bit of a privacy concern, but as long as you are aggregating and anonymizing data I don't have a problem with it.

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