Historic Trends

Data Available Until Jaunary 31, 2021

Real Time Data: Search Interest in Past 90 Days

Trends at different time spans and at subnational levels can be explored on the Google Trends website.
We compute a 7 day moving average of Google search interest. Original daily values range from 0 to 100, where 100 represents peak search activity for a keyword.



Trends shown from February 1 - Jaunary 31, 2021


Trends shown from February 1 - Jaunary 31, 2021

The Evolution of the Pandemic Through the Lens of Google Searches

A Global Dashboard for Monitoring COVID-19


Overview

When we fall ill, many of us turn to Google to understand our symptoms and treatment options. Using data from February 1 - Jaunary 31, 2021, this dashboard illustrates how search interest for specific symptoms strongly matches - and often preceeds - trends in COVID-19 cases.


Trends in search interest in COVID-19 symptoms should not replace administrative data on cases. The relation between the two is strong but not perfect. Search interest can be driven by news or other events, and the usefulness of search interest data depends on geographic characteristics such as internet access. However, Google data can supplement official data. This is particularly true in circumstances when testing or data may not be widely available. Moreover, given that Google trends information is updated in real time, sudden increases in search interest can warn of potential growth in COVID-19 cases.


Google Trends can also be used to understand impacts of COVID-19 and search interest around prevention measures. Consequently, in addition to showing search interest in COVID-related symptoms, the dashboard also shows search interest related to mental health keywords (e.g., anxiety and loneliness), other potential consequences (e.g., unemployment and debt), prevention measures (e.g., face masks) and treatment measures (e.g., teleworking and ventilators).


Determining when the correlation between Google search interest and COVID-19 is strongest

In all figures and analysis, we use the number of new daily COVID-19 cases or deaths and a 7 day moving average of Google Search Interest. We compute how strongly different search terms correlate with COVID-19 cases and deaths. In addition, we determine whether search interest can help predict future cases or deaths or whether search interest responds or comes after cases/deaths. To determine this, we shift COVID-19 cases/deaths by up to 21 days from its actual date. We calculate the correlation between the shifted COVID-19 and the search interest (this approach follows research from others on COVID-19 and Google Trends). Using all these estimated correlations, we determine the following metrics:

  • Maximum Correlation

  • Lead/Lag Days: The number of days COVID-19 cases/deaths was shifted to obtain the maximum correlation. Negative values mean that search interest comes before COVID-19, helping to predict cases/deaths while positive values indicate the search interest reacts to COVID-19 cases/deaths


Correlation between COVID-19 cases (shifted) and Search Term Interest

Data

We access COVID-19 Cases and Deaths from the WHO and download Google Trends data for all countries. In all analyses, we use a 7 day moving average of Google Search interest. To protect privacy, Google only releases search interest data when there is a large enough search volume for a specific search term. We translate search terms from English into each country's most widely used language using Google Translate. The below table shows which language is used for each country.



Credits

The dashboard and analytics were produced by Robert Marty, Manuel Maqueda, Nausheen Khan, Arndt Reichert and Bibind Vasu of the Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) Group at the World Bank. The research team has published a blog about the analysis and has also conducted analysis at the subnational level using Brazil as a case study.

The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this dashboard are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.