In early 2005, Lee Harbert, an investment banker from Oakland, CA, fled the scene of a hit-and-run accident and was later sentenced to three years in prison. Aside from finding one of the woman's earrings between his car hood and windshield, police also found incriminating evidence on his computer when they searched his house. His Google Search queries showed terms like "hit and run," "auto parts" and "auto glass reporting requirements to law enforcement," only a few short days after the incident — enough evidence to help convict Harbert once and for all.
Not surprisingly, there have been many other cases where a person's Google Search history has helped solve a crime. In terms of crime investigation, if police already have a search warrant, I think this is a great way to find evidence. Having said that I'd be curious to know if Google hands over any search information from a specific IP address, or if this is all generated from browser history? How do you feel about this?