I have always found it fascinating how much information the internet is providing “real time” and I believe that a lot of economic data can and should be “extracted” from data on internet activity. A good example is the development in google searches on the European debt crisis. Here Google Trends is an excellent tool.
We we input “Greek crisis” into Google Trends we get this timeline.
The graph is pretty clear – searches on the “Greek crisis” spikes in early 2010 and then start to ease off in May 2010. But then again from the early part of the Summer this year the “Greek crisis” start to take off again.
Then lets add one more search: “euro crisis”.
Here we compare the number of searches for “euro crisis” and “Greek crisis” respectively.
The picture is clear – there is a very high correlation between “Greek crisis” and “euro crisis”. However, there is more to tell. While “Greek crisis” searches is much higher the “euro crisis” searches in 2010 the picture has now changed.
Greek crisis becoming a euro crisis
Hence, since July the number of searches for “euro crisis” has outpaced the number of searches for “Greek crisis”. Zoom in on 2011 searches here.
Said in another way what Google Trends is telling us is that the Greek crisis has turned into a euro crisis. Is that a surprise? Maybe not, but it is an indication of the systemic risks involved in this terrible crisis.