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For Varian, everything – including his culinary choices – can relate to data. Last year, while looking to buy a pepper shaker online, he hit upon the idea of a Google Price Index (GPI). It uses Google’s web shopping database to create a daily measure of inflation. It could, one day, be a complement – or competitor – to the official, yet less frequent, Consumer Price Index (CPI).

There’s a systemic gap, Varian points out, between the low-frequency data employed by governments and the high-frequency data of business. Government is working on it, though. “It’s now using supermarket scanner data to predict inflation rates,” notes Varian. How did it predict them before? “They used to send people out with notebooks to write it down.”

More communication between government and business clearly benefits both, says Varian. Business can provide more real-time data. “If you look at most businesses now, pretty much everyone – think of UPS, FedEx, MasterCard – has a real-time database. And that’s powerful.” Government can, in turn, aggregate information, giving businesses insight into their industry and the economy as a whole.

Se você não conhece Hal Varian, envergonhe-se.

Via Think Quartely, uma puta publicação do Google feita na Inglaterra.

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