An online service from Google that measures the popularity of search terms may reveal a coming double-dip recession, or at least a slump in car sales, the news website Politico reported today.

While economists traditionally rely on tried-and-true economic indicators like the GDP and unemployment rates to gauge the health of the nation, government officials are also watching economic trends via a tool called Google Insights for Search, according to Politico.

Economists report that searches for the phrase "new car dealers" have dropped since the height of the economic boom and are showing no signs of recovery. The rise and fall in the volume of Google searches typically parallels car sales figures reported by manufacturers.

In related news, searches for the phrase "public transportation" have held steady.

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