Google Uses Search Results to Estimate Flu Activity

Posted on November 11, 2008

Google has launched a new service called Google Flu Trends that uses search activity to estimate flu activity in your state. They say it could act as an early warning system for a severe outbreak.

So why bother with estimates from aggregated search queries? It turns out that traditional flu surveillance systems take 1-2 weeks to collect and release surveillance data, but Google search queries can be automatically counted very quickly. By making our flu estimates available each day, Google Flu Trends may provide an early-warning system for outbreaks of influenza.

Reuters has a story here about Google's new service.

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