When you Google your cold symptoms, you’re helping point to patterns in the spread of illness. Madhourse/iStock/Thinkstock In a word, yes. As it turns out, if you head for Google at the first sign of illness in your household, you’re definitely not alone. In 2008, a team at Google realized that search terms such as “cold or flu” and “how to treat the flu” could reliably be used as indicators of flu levels in a given region [sources: Mohebbi, Stefansen]. This discovery was used to launch Google Flu Trends, a tool that uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity all around the world. To identify the search terms that correlate with flu activity, Google worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, comparing the popularity of individual Google search queries with historical data about flu outbreaks [source: Google Flu Trends]. Once they identified the most closely correlated search terms, Google researchers determined that spikes in flu-related Web searches actually preceded the flu outbreaks reported by the CDC by about two weeks, suggesting that Web activity was not merely tracking flu activity, but might in fact be able to predict regional outbreaks. In 2011, Google used data… Read full this story
- Europe is woefully unprepared for future deadly disease outbreaks ǀ View
- Harvard’s ‘Outbreak Week’ marks centennial of flu pandemic
- Fears of African swine fever reaching Australia rise, as Indonesia confirms outbreak
- 25 people quarantined at Aurora ICE detention facility due to scabies outbreak
- WHO declares Ebola outbreak in DRC "emergency of int'l concern"
- Study: Many in Ebola outbreak don’t believe virus is real
- Why is Minnesota experiencing the worst measles outbreak in nearly 30 years?
- 5 Wild Diseases We Got From Animals
- Better biosafety oversight planned after outbreak
- South Sudan measles outbreak raises questions about vaccines
Can Google predict disease outbreaks? have 307 words, post on computer.howstuffworks.com at October 29, 2014. This is cached page on wBlogs. If you want remove this page, please contact us.