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News, analysis and primary source documents on terrorism, extremism and national security.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Modest Test of Terrorism Forecasting with Google Trends

I was reading this piece on forecasting terrorist attacks, and I was reminded that it's been a while since I played Google Trends bingo.  

So here are several forecasts related to terrorist attacks and other things, courtesy of Google Trends, which extrapolates future Google searches based on past ones. 

This is arguably the purest kind of Big Data crowdsourcing forecast because it factors in all the things that invisibly make people search for something on Google. 

It should be taken with large grains of salt -- as should all claims of forecasting terrorist attacks and sundry events -- but let's get it on the record and see. 

Search: Bomb. Forecast: December 2013 

Search: Lone Wolf. Forecast: January 2014

Search: Terrorist, attack. Forecast: May 2014
 Search: Protest. Forecast: September 2013

Search: Protest, riot. Forecast: June 2014

Search: Nuclear accident. Forecast: April 2014

Search: Stock market crash. Forecast: November 2013

Search: Shooting. Forecast: August 2013 (it's worth noting that my previous efforts to forecast also returned August 2013 as a likely search peak)

Search: Massacre. Forecast: July 2013

Search: Terrorism. Forecast: May 2014

Buy J.M. Berger's book, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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