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Floormaster Squeeze

I had a discussion with someone thinking of using "Dr. Google" type data to prove something. I had not thought of it as much as you but my immediate response was skepticism. To put those immediate objections in line with the depression article I would posit the following three cases. First, a depressed person without access to the interntet. Second, a depressed person that googles their depression but does not interact with people. Third, a depressed person that has caregivers, friends, family, and community that care about them and 50 people touched by that person google depression in order to find out if there is anything they can do to help. Dr. Google records the three cases a 0, 1, and 50 searches. It would be nearly impossible to aggregate that up to any sort of meaningful number. This is also just one dimension that would not add up and their lots more (familiarity with the disease would impact googling but not incidence, etc.).

I would argue that time for googling is a factor that Mr. Stephens=Davidowitz does not obviously control for (people may be busy vacationing, getting ready for new school year, etc. on August 11th).

Kaiser

not to mention that the people searching for his article about depression!

as privacy concerns escalate, there will also be more bots created for the purpose of confusing data mining programs

Carl Lemp

If this is an example of economics research then it is no wonder economics is called the dismal science. The "science" behind this research is truly dismal! From the article: "Google searches, the biggest data source we currently have, are unambiguous: when it comes to our happiness, climate matters a great deal."
Gigantic pile of garbage in still equals garbage out.

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