The what, why and how of health and development

Google flu trend – mapping global health

Google maps out flu trends

I’m not sure what is more interesting. That Google can map out flu trends by monitoring search engines or that it is its “philanthropic arm” that provides this.

Philanthropy aside, it is incredibly interesting to consider that by typing ‘flu’ into a search engine, on a blog post or in a comment you are immediately placed on a virtual map that shows the distribution of flu globally.

Could this be a quick way to recognise and respond to global diseases? Could this solve problems that have previously faced organisations such as the WHO when tackling previous pandemics?

Creator of a rival ‘flumap’ called HealthMap, John Bronstein told the BBC that although speed is it’s credential, virtual flu maps are not as reliable as organisations such as the WHO that recognises the importance in validating health research findings. Read the full article here


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