Google Trends: Opportunities and limitations in health and health policy research

Vishal S. Arora, Martin McKee, David Stuckler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Web search engines have become pervasive in recent years, obtaining information easily on a variety of topics, from customer services and goods to practical information. Beyond these search interests, however, there is growing interest in obtaining health advice or information online. As a result, health and health policy researchers are starting to take note of potential data sources for surveillance and research, such as Google Trends™ a publicly available repository of information on real-time user search patterns. While research using Google Trends™ is growing, use of the dataset still remains limited. This paper offers an overview of the use of such data in a variety of contexts, while providing information on its strengths, limitations, and recommendations for further improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-341
Number of pages4
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Health behaviours
  • Health policy
  • Internet
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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