Don’t Google “Flu” Unless You Are Really Sick…
Because it turns out that Google is using aggregate search data to track flu outbreaks. The basic idea is simple. If a lot of people in Des Moines are doing Google searches about the flu, odds are a lot of people in Des Moines are coming down with the flu. They claim they can detect outbreaks faster than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since they don’t have to rely on collecting lots of reports from health care providers.
There is an interactive flash map at the Google Flu Trends site as well as a flu shot clinic locator.
So if you all want to test it out, start doing lots of google searchs for the flu where you live and see if you can trick it into thinking you have an outbreak!
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