Objective. This research note presents and assesses the potential for Google's Insights for Search tool for use in social science research.
Methods. Measures of social phenomena across time and across ecological units produced from search engine data are compared with existing data sources.
Results. The comparisons show that the search engine data correspond quite closely with existing measures of issue salience and religious adherence.
Conclusions. Given its relative lack of cost both in terms of money and labor, its flexibility, and its correspondence to other data, social scientists should consider the Insights for Search tool for research purposes.