For example, last winter Google could track the spread of influenza across the nation by watching how people used its search engine. As the illness spread, search terms changed from the usual celebrities, food, and shopping, including terms such as fever, influenza, and when to see the doctor.
A search correlating the words prominent liberal commentators such as Rachel Maddow and Stephen Colbert with weight loss yields the results arugula, beets, fennel and vegetarian, the stereotypes many Republicans may hold of liberals.
Using conservative commentators such as Charles Krauthammer and Bill O’Reilly to correlate with weight loss yields results like dieting, weight loss pills, and prescription weight loss, the stereotypes Democrats may hold of conservatives.
Researchers conclude that political consultants can exploit Google correlate tools to their advantage. If hosting an event for liberals, vegetarian fare would be popular. Conversely, for the Red Guys, traditional American apple pie topped with real whipped cream or a slice of Wisconsin cheddar would wow them.
— Wendy Risk, SaintPetersBlog correspondent