Thanks to services like Google Trends, it’s easy enough to find out how search terms are trending online. Today Google announced a new service, Google Correlate, that allows users to see what search terms best match a real-world trend they want to track. Researchers “wanted a system that was like Google Trends but in reverse,” according to Matt Mohebbi, a software engineer writing on the company’s official blog.
The idea got started with Google’s Flu Tracker, which identifies correlations between certain search terms and flu outbreaks. In a white paper on the project, linked to in the blog post by Mr. Mohebbi, he and fellow Googlers explain how they tested the approach to come up with accurate models of two phenomena: flu outbreaks and U.S. home-refinancing rates.