A new search capability recently announced by Google promises to be a fascinating new tool for economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and many other scientists, and anyone, in fact, looking for a number to quantify anything that the government is already recording.
Google says on its website:
Reliable information about these kinds of things exists thanks to the hard work of data collectors gathering countless survey forms, and of careful statisticians estimating meaningful indicators that make hidden patterns of the world visible to the eye. All the data we've used in this first launch are produced and published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau's Population Division. They did the hard work! We just made the data a bit easier to find and use.
Focus, concentration and yes, education, are required on the part of the searcher to type the correct queries and search for exactly the data desired. Google's new service appears to link seamlessly with existing search queries. For more information, here's a link to Google's blog.