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Google Keeps Tabs on Flu Outbreaks with Online Flu Tracker

Google Flu Trends Map
I’m sorry South America, but it seems you come down with a nasty case of gangrene. (Google.org)

Is there anything Google doesn’t know? It seems there is not.

While “Googling” something the other day, I noticed a link in the lower right hand corner of my screen that read, “Google Flu Trends“. Curious, I clicked it, and lo and behold there it was, a global tracker of reported flu cases.

What I have since found out is that this little handy tool has been around for several years, and for the most part has been pretty accurate with the exception of last year where it incorrectly reported an abnormally high number of cases in the U.S.

So how does it work? Long story short, and the way I understand it, Google nerds created some kind of computer code that tracks the number of flu-related searches people conduct on the web. They then compare that data with the number of flu cases reported to the Center for Disease Control and, viola! A real-time account of the number of people you need to stay away from for at least a week.

Of course that’s a pretty simplified way to describe it. I could give you the longer version, but fortunately Google already took care of that with this handy video.

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