The main advantage of web search as a prediction tool may have less to do with its superiority over other methods than with its generality, low cost, and real-time nature.
Matt Cutts explains Google Caffeine.
He and his co-authors were the first to publish about the fact that flu-related searches on the Web are precise predictors of the upcoming influenza outbreaks.
Best wishes for the rest of their scientific career.
[*] “-Make him a Saint, now!”-, in Italian.