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Google search terms linked to economic success

Researchers compared the number of searches regarding past events and future possibilities and found that countries with higher GDPs tend to search more about the coming year than the one just past.

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(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Online searches in countries with high per capita gross domestic product (GDP) are more likely to search topics related to the future than the past, a new study found.

Researchers at University College London said their findings may point to a correlation between online behavior and a country's economic indicators, reported UPI.

"Our results are consistent with the intriguing possibility that there is a relationship between the economic success of a country and the information-seeking behaviour of its citizens online," the authors write, according to the New Scientist.

The British researchers compared online searches between 45 countries from 2010 testing how often the word "2009" was used versus "2011."

According to Ars Technica, the authors then divided the results by country, graphing the results by per capita GDP.

“We see two leading explanations for this relationship between search activity and GDP,” said UCL visiting researcher Tobias Preis, according to WebProNews.

“Firstly, these findings may reflect international differences in attention to the future and the past, where a focus on the future supports economic success. Secondly, these findings may reflect international differences in the type of information sought online, perhaps due to economic influences on available Internet infrastructure”

The researchers eliminated countries with less than five million internet users as those countries might confound the data.

The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/science/120408/google-searches-linked-economic-success