Google eyes online consumer index to track inflation

Oct 12, 2010
US Internet titan Google is readying its own "Google Price Index" based on a vast database of online purchases, providing a daily measure of inflation, said a top company official quoted in the Financial Times.

US Internet titan Google is readying its own "Google Price Index" based on a vast database of online purchases, providing a daily measure of inflation, said a top company official quoted Tuesday in the Financial Times.

Google has not yet decided whether it will publish the index (GPI), which is still in development, the group's chief economist Hal Varian said at the National Association of Business Economists conference in Denver, Colorado.

Varian said the GPI indicates a "very clear deflationary trend" for goods purchased online in just under a year of data gathering, a potentially worrying prospect for US officials.

The GPI, calculated differently from official statistics of -- a key indicator of US economic growth -- as it only accounts for products sold on the Internet, but can be a much faster tool as results could be modelled at real-time speed.

The most recent official data from the Commerce Department was released at the beginning of October and showed in August. Those figures showed spending rose 0.4 percent in August as spent slightly more than expected for the second straight month.

Explore further: Startups offer banking for smartphone users

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Main Street' economic conditions misread by GDP

Feb 18, 2010

Traditional gauges of economic activity severely overstate the standard of living as experienced on 'Main Street,' say University of Maryland researchers, who have worked with their state officials to apply ...

Google Internet Stats Introduced

Sep 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Google has quietly introduced a Google Internet Stats website, which presents snippets of statistics and insights for a number of focus areas, and allows you to search within the statistics for sp ...

China eyes 500 million web users

Mar 25, 2010

A top Chinese official has said the nation's online population, already the largest in the world, is expected to exceed 500 million in the next two to three years.

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

Aug 30, 2014

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

Aug 29, 2014

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

knikiy
not rated yet Oct 12, 2010
This would be great since the CPI ironically excludes the items that most directly effect quality of life, such as food and energy prices. But we may still be missing these metrics in this case, since not many folks buy the bulk of their food and gasoline online. Or, on a more cynical note, it could just be another source of dis-information filtered through vested interests in order to manipulate public opinion.