American Google Flu Trends

November 13th, 2008 - 11:12 am ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi  

The flu season may have decreased. Incase, anyone has a fever, headache and running nose, sneezes. Then a click of search Google and type the words “flu symptoms” will be useful to know the come down with influenza.

To it’s additional and the controversial , the US federal government’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and Google, the internet search engine, set up a partnership and devised a way to monitor the flu outbreaks around the country by tracking users’ searches relating to the illness. Google Flu Trends will act as an early-warning system by monitoring every time a user enters key words such as “flu symptoms” and “muscle aches”.

In America, up to 20 percent of the population suffers from flu a year and More than 200,000 people are hospitalised from flu complications, including 20,000 children, and about 36,000 people die. For this season 145 million doses of vaccine is prepared by the pharmaceutical companies.

Google has been criticised for aspects of its user privacy policies and data collection practices that allow it to record users’ internet activity.

It also indicates that the Google Flu Trends will be able to identify the users’ general geographical whereabouts, it will not be able to identify an individual user because Google will use anonymous and aggregated of how often a particular search occur in a week.

“Traditional flu surveillance systems take one-two weeks to collect and release data, but Google search queries can be automatically counted very quickly. By making our flu estimates available each day, Google Flu Trends may provide an early-warning system for outbreaks,” it said.

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