FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Google Flu Trends enters next phase

Google Flu Trends enters next phase. | Courtesy of biology.usf.edu
Google Flu Trends recently announced that it is moving on to a new chapter.

Google Flu Trends began as a small team made of software engineers in 2008. The team’s purpose was to explore the real-world phenomena that could be used as a model of patterns involved in search queries.

Since that time, Google Flu Trends has offered practical, useful insights. It was even an early example of “nowcasting” search trends. This method is frequently used in health as well as other fields. The software engineers designed search signals to develop prediction models, which have been improved and updated over time as the engineers compared their own predictions to the real-world flu cases.

Now the website will no longer be maintained. Instead, it is going to be used to help institutions that focus on infectious disease research. Now these institutes will be able to use the data from Google Flu Trends to create their own models.

Google Flu Trends will now offer signal data about flu and dengue directly to its partners: Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) influenza division.

Flu Trends will continue to create historical estimate data about the Flu and Dengue. This will still be available for anyone interested.

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