Marginal Revolution points to one of the more unusual pieces to be written by Andrew Gelman. Cowen particularly likes the line: "We originally wrote this article in Word, but then we converted it to Latex to make it look more like science."
I am gathering from this that Professor Gelman is sceptical about the use of Google Trends and related net harvested data. We have posted a lot of links to work that is ongoing in this area. Over time, the material has looked increasingly promising but we certainly have not seen anything yet on this blog that would knock your socks off in terms of the potential of these types of data e.g. the use of google trends to forecast unemployment is mildly interesting but doesn't look much better than using simple consumer sentiment data (though it may be cheaper of course, which is obviously a consideration). If anyone wants to defend the use of this type of data for social science from Gelman's ridicule, please feel free to suggest something to post. For now, I am going to have a nice comfortable lie-down on the fence, as I have seen nothing that makes me want to change from using good survey data but I would be surprised if people do not come up with some strong applications soon.