Google uses crowdsourcing method to predict flu epidemic

  • SAN FRANCISCO — There is a new common symptom of the flu, in addition to the usual aches, coughs, fevers and sore throats. Turns out a lot of ailing Americans enter phrases like “flu symptoms” into Google and other search engines before they call their doctors.That simple act, multiplied across millions of keyboards in homes around the country, has given rise to a new early warning system for fast-spreading flu outbreaks, called Google Flu Trends.
  • Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org has released a new site that tracks the incidence of flu in the US based on terms used in Google searches.The system uses aggregated, anonymous results from searches for flu-related terms and plots their locations.The approach, validated against Centers for Disease Control (CDC) flu records, provides timely data that could be two weeks ahead of government figures.

One Comment

  1. ben

    go-go-gadget-distributed-computing!

    This is really interesting – I think ARK might rip it off ;0)

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