In order to help researchers better understand the health impact of COVID-19, Google added search trends on COVID-19 to its Open Data Repository.
During the current global COVID-19 crisis, many organisations and institutions freely published their data in order to support the combat against the pandemic. However, lack of easily re-usable high-quality data has posed a significant challenge. A large share of the publicly available data is scattered, incomplete or compiled in many different formats.
In March 2020, Google launched the COVID-19 Public Dataset Program, where they offer free access to critical information on the virus through the COVID-19 Open Data Repository. The aim of this effort is to monitor, control and support the COVID-19 pandemic using data and analytics tools. The repository is a comprehensive, open-source resource of epidemiological data and related variables such as economic indicators or population statistics from more than 50 countries.
Recently, Google added a Search Trends Symptoms dataset to their repository, which aggregates anonymised search trends for over 400 symptoms. Google hopes to help researches to better understand the virus and its potential secondary health impacts. The search trends are also visualised on Google Trends.