Google introduces Flu Tracking Map


Google has introduced an interactive flu map which tracks the spread of influenza across the U.S.:

“Tests of the new Web tool from, the company’s philanthropic unit, suggest that it may be able to detect regional outbreaks of the flu a week to 10 days before they are reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…Its new service at analyzes those searches as they come in, creating graphs and maps of the country that, ideally, will show where the flu is spreading…Google Flu Trends avoids privacy pitfalls by relying only on aggregated data that cannot be traced to individual searchers. To develop the service, Google’s engineers devised a basket of keywords and phrases related to the flu, including thermometer, flu symptoms, muscle aches, chest congestion and many others. Google then dug into its database, extracted five years of data on those queries and mapped it onto the C.D.C.’s reports of influenzalike illness. Google found a strong correlation between its data and the reports from the agency, which advised it on the development of the new service.”

Posted November 12, 2008 at 8:28am ETC by Andy Towle
in Health, Maps, News