Google flu trends

This is just plain cool: go to 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)?


One thought on “Google flu trends

  1. 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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