Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tracking Flu trends - Google

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Tracking flu trends

11/11/2008 12:51:00 PM
Like many Googlers, we're fascinated by trends in online search queries. Whether you're interested in U.S. elections, today's hot trends, or each year's Zeitgeist, patterns in Google search queries can be very informative. Last year, a small team of software engineers began to explore if we could go beyond simple trends and accurately model real-world phenomena using patterns in search queries. After meeting with the public health gurus on Google.org's Predict and Prevent team, we decided to focus on outbreaks of infectious disease, which are responsible for millions of deaths around the world each year. You've probably heard of one such disease: influenza, commonly known as "the flu," which is responsible for up to 500,000 deaths worldwide each year. If you or your kids have ever caught the flu, you know just how awful it can be.
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