Have you ever got the feeling that everyone around you has the flu? Google may be able to answer that question for you.
Google has been tracking the number of health related searches and identified which of those are related to flu-like symptoms. They then used the flu-related searches and compared it to the information on from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that shows how many people actually have the flu; and what they found was very exciting!
The flu-related searches on Google are closely related to the surveillance data from the CDC.
So what does this mean to you? The CDC data has a lag time of two to three weeks but Google’s search trends are in real-time. This means that you can get a good sense of when the flu season begins and how it moves from region to region. You will be able to know when to be sanitizing office space more often and when to watch for when faculty, staff, and students will be sick who will be possibly calling in sick more.