Utilizing their vast collection of shopping data, Google is developing an alternative means of tracking inflation known as the Google Price Index (GPI). The effort is being headed by Google’s chief economist Hal Varian, and has the grand goal of providing more timely price index data.
The well known Consumer Price Index (CPI) provides a monthly measure of inflation based on pricing data gathered by hand from brick-and-mortar retailers along with other sources. The CPI data is published monthly and can be delayed by several weeks. Google’s method of utilizing online sources of pricing data offers a more real time reflection of pricing indexes.