If you’re in the selling business, Google’s Domestic Trends reports should interest you.

They are based on the idea that search data can inform us about the purchasing intentions of the populace. If people are searching for terms like ‘jewelry’, ‘perfume’ or ‘Tiffanys’, then we may assume that the luxury goods market is buoyant, the economy on the up. It’s much the same train of thought that led Google to claim it might predict a flu epidemic by aggregating the number of searches for ‘flu symptoms’ and similar.

On the other hand, if searches for ‘do it yourself’, ‘jobs’ or ‘unsecured loans’ are on the up, then we may all be in trouble – except, of course, for DIY stores, employment agencies and loan firms.

At the moment, the data refers to searches on Google.com, and primarily reflects habits in the USA – but we’ve seen most other Google services unroll to other countries, so I’d think we can expect a UK version in the near future. This free tool might just become one of the strongest at your disposal.