Google Inc. is constructing an inflation measure that might eventually provide an alternative to official statistics, using its database of Internet shopping figures, the Financial Times reported.
Hal Varian, the company’s chief economist, told a conference in Denver, Colorado, that the “Google Price Index” is still being developed and no decision has been made on whether to publish it, the newspaper said.
The initiative shows how economic data can be gathered rapidly using online sources; figures for the official Consumer Price Index are collected from shops and published monthly, with a time lag of several weeks, the FT said.
Varian said Google’s index indicates a “clear deflationary trend” for items traded over the Internet in the U.S. this year, the newspaper added.
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