Google: ‘I’m Feeling Sicky’
Posted on Nov 12, 2008
While worries over Google’s “big brother” surveillance practices still worry many, a softer, more health-conscious side of the search giant is partnering with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The tool, “Google Flu Trends,” uses the aggregate regional data obtained from flu-related searches to predict epidemics weeks before they can be diagnosed by traditional measures.
Google already has a window into our souls through our internet searches and it now has insight into our ailing bodies too.
The internet giant is using its vast database of individual search terms to predict the emergence of flu up to a two weeks before government epidemiologists.
Google Flu Trends uses the tendency of people to seek online help for their health problems.
By tracking searches for terms such as ‘cough’, ‘fever’ and ‘aches and pains’ it claims to be able to accurately estimate where flu is circulating.
“Google Flu Trends” uses individual user search data regarding illness to create a regional profile assessing the severity of a flu epidemic before conventional measures can do so.