Can Google & Twitter Help Predict the Future?
by Jack Uldrich
The current recession has been particularly hard on two industries: travel and real estate. Professionals in these industries might be interested to know that the Internet’s latest exponential sensation, Twitter, might not only help them predict their future, it—along with Google real-time web search—might help those industries recover sooner by helping them better target their existing resources.
According to this fascinating article in New Scientist, Google researchers and economic forecasters have used information gleaned from Google and Twitter to discern what people were thinking or doing at any particular moment and used that data to more accurately assess their intentions.
For example, real-time searches of Twitter or specific websites could help real estate agents know what features, price points or locations are on the top of people’s minds right now. In the same way, tourism officials could use real-time search to better target their ads to lure customers to their destinations.
None of this targeting is new. What is new is that the information taken from Twitter and Google offers faster and more accurate predictions—up to 15% more accurate.
My prediction: Those businesses that learn how to employ real-time search will be the ones most likely to still be in business in a few years. And, to help predict this outcome, I intend to Tweet this post.

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