Web-based tools have become increasingly adept at measuring a critical economic indicator: the nation’s mood. Whereas old indicators were based on surveys, these applications sift through mountains of online data, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. TweetFeel, for example, looks for select words and emoticons on Twitter. Other systems do the same for blogs. Emotionr.com even has a running world happiness score—currently at 6.15 out of 10.
Google’s Insights for Search lets marketers see how consumers are talking about their products. The White House has even cited Google data, noting that searches for “economic depression” have fallen recently. Google says that data’s unscientific, but says its Trends project predicted the ebbs and flows of flu season ahead of the Centers for Disease Control, and believes it could spot similar economic moves.