Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You Won't Like What We Learn About America From Google

A Harvard PhD student wrote a book about what he learned by studying searches on Google Trends.  He argues that Google searches tell us more about what people really worry about than surveys or focus groups.  In the privacy of their computer they ask Google for information that they would not reveal to friends or family.  His research told him that Trump would win the election because the quantity of searches on race and Islam tracked strongly with  Trump's progress in the primaries and afterwards.  They were particularly strong in rust belt states that went to Trump in the general election.  He concluded that our society is more racist and distrustful of minorities that would be picked up in surveys.

One of the trends that concerns him is the huge increase in questions about abortion. Those questions tend to be more frequent in states that have made it more difficult to have an abortion.  Many women must be seeking other ways to end a pregnancy. Americans are also very concerned about their appearance.  One of the most popular searches is about ways to deal with obesity.  Moreover, men tend to share the same concerns about their weight as women. 

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