Flu tracker

I like to divide people into groups with the best of them – There are blue staters and red staters.  There are people who like the toilet paper over the top as God intended it and there are people who like the toilet paper underneath.  There are also people who like to get flu shots and people who do not.  I do not want to have a debate about the merits or pitfalls of flu shots, but I think it is interesting to hear people discuss their reasoning either way.  Apparently Google has partenered with the CDC to track and predict the flu’s progression across the United States (Get right to the tracking map here).  They are able to track past years’ data as well as frequently updated information from the CDC’s flu tracking.  Apparently it used to take weeks to crunch the data from the CDC.  Anyhow, Google found that they could correlate web search terms with the data from the CDC.  I have read reports suggesting that Google can predict flu trends 1-2 weeks in advance based on their models/web search analysis.  Now, truth-be-told, if you know the flu is 1-2 weeks out, it’s too late for a flu shot to do any good.  However, I think this could be pretty useful to know when you should stay at home for a few weeks catching up on old episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard.

7 thoughts on “Flu tracker

  1. I’ve been hearing about this google analytic on the news. Pretty neat-kinda scary. Course they say no privacy issues are being abused. I’m pretty much with you on the flu-it would be nice to know when you should skip the indoor event with the huge crowd because folks are on the verge of showing flu symptoms. Looks like a tool that would be useful for schools too.

  2. Laura-Jane – My brother and I are kooks for Dukes of Hazzard. All of his pets are named after DoH characters! A friend and I acquired a pic of Daisy Duke when we were in 3rd grade (I think). We knew we shouldn’t have it…but we didn’t want to get rid of it. It wasn’t a dirty pic…just one out of TV Guide or something. Anyhow, we buried it in a plastic lunchbox in my parent yard…somewhere. To this day, she remains buried in that box, somewhere in their yard!

  3. I didn’t know that. I’ll have to get my metal detector out and see if I can find it. It may be worth something today.

  4. That is pretty cool. I think every database/data mining guy dreams of having Google’s database to play around with. 🙂


  5. Ron – I have playe with some pretty incredible datasets that are, of course, unmentionable here. Still, I was amazed at what I could discover in them. I can’t even imagine what anything from Google would be like. It would also be cool to have the Google-paid-for massages and laundry service. I think I prefer the landscape here though!

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