Google Correlate, which's launched today on Google Labs, lets researchers enter the trend of some real world activity and see which search terms best match that trend.
"Using Correlate, you can upload your own data series and see a list of search terms whose popularity best corresponds with that real world trend. In the example below, we uploaded official flu activity data from the U.S. CDC over the last several years and found that people search for terms like [cold or flu] in a similar pattern to actual flu rates. Finding out these correlated terms is how we built Google Flu Trends," Google explained:
You can also enter a search term such as [ribosome] and find other terms whose activity corresponds well over time with the one you're interested in:]
"With this system, we don't care what any one person is searching for. In fact, we rely on millions of anonymized search queries issued to Google over time, and the patterns we observe in the data are only meaningful across large populations," Google stated.
You can read the white paper embedded below describing the methodology behind Google Correlate. Or for lighter reading,
[Source: Google blog]