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Google Search Trends Reveal Flu Outbreaks

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Google Search Trends Reveal Flu Outbreaks

Your Health

Google Search Trends Reveal Flu Outbreaks

Google Search Trends Reveal Flu Outbreaks

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/96914887/96914881" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Google Flu Trends aggregates search data in an effort to predict regional flu outbreaks.

With flu season fast approaching, people who feel themselves getting sick are turning to the web to self-diagnose. Aggregating Google's flu-related seraches can yield interesting trends about where outbreaks are occurring — and might even provide earlier regional warnings than the CDC.

Miguel Helft, who wrote an article in The New York Times about Google's Flu Tracker, talks about the information that can — and can't — be gleaned from aggregated search data.

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