Google Search Trends Reveal Flu Outbreaks

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.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.