Google flu trends

This is just plain cool: go to http://www.google.org/flutrends/ and you can see predictions of flu activity in your state.  Apparently Google’s data maps closely to CDC data, but tends to be 2 weeks ahead of the CDC.

How do they do it?  Google uses a model of search term activity to get the data.

Some thoughts:

1. Wow – where else could this be applied, and what else could we learn?

2. Google takes seriously its mission of “organizing the world’s information” – it’s a lot more than search

3. Do you get the impression that Google spends a lot of time doing a lot of things that have nothing to do with what people think of as Google’s “main” business (search and online ads)?

google-flu-activity

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One Response to Google flu trends

  1. Morten says:

    And isn’t Google really taking a whole new spin at the “world” part? If you look at their recent initiatives, more and more about them are about *my* world – Gmail organize my e-mails, Docs organize my documents, etc.

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