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Google's new Flu Trends site is weeks ahead of the CDC at predicting outbreaks. It also comes with some nifty colorful charts.  (Source: Google.org)
Getting sick? Google knew you were going to...

If there's one Silicon Valley firm that's wildly creative it's Google.  Sure Microsoft might make all encompassing OS's and miss few details, Nintendo may make intuitive gaming devices, and Apple may make the most chic portable electronics, but these companies fall short of Google in terms of sheer zaniness of some of their ideas.

Perhaps it’s the playpens of multi-colored balls, or maybe something in the water, but ideas that anyone else would think of as crazy, Google not only listens to -- it goes for on a continual basis.  A perfect example was Google Goggles, a new Gmail API aimed at preventing you from drunk emailing.

Now the realm of weird, but strangely useful Google Apps has another addition -- Google Flu Trends.  Google Flu Trends is an initiative of Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm.

The device's base mechanic is either brilliant or invasive.  It tracks user searches of topics such as "flu symptoms" or "muscle aches" by location.  By aggregating this data and correlating it to location, Google Flu Trends develops maps of where flu outbreaks are occurring.

How accurate is Google Flu Trends?  On average, it has begun to pick up outbreaks a couple weeks before the Centers For Disease Control, the critical government organization tasked with tracking disease, can.  Considering the amount of medical data in the hands of the CDC and its vast funding, Google Flu Trends' superior accuracy is yet another impressive or perhaps scary testament to Google's power and all-seeing eye.

The new site has the potential to save lives as the flu still kills many elderly people and those with compromised immune systems yearly.  By identifying outbreak zones, hand washing protocols can be emphasized, public awareness campaigns can be carried out, and people can take supplements geared towards strengthening the immune system.

Google is diligently sharing its reports with the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of the Influenza Division at CDC, perhaps to the Center's chagrin. 

If you want to check them out for yourself, you can head over to the main site.

What will Google dream up next?  It's hard to say, but nothing seems impossible for the Swiss-Army knife-like company. 



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MICK PROOFREAD!
By fezzik1620 on 11/12/2008 10:37:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Getting sick? Google k new you were going to... If there's one Silicon Valley firm that's wildly creative it's Google. Sure Microsoft might make all encompassing OS's and miss a(?) few details, Nintendo may make intuitive gaming devices, and Apple may make the most chic portable electronics, but these companies fall short of Google in terms of sheer zaniness of some of their ideas.

corrections with emphasis added
Jason, please, proofread. I won't even read the rest of the article. Journalists have always been held to a higher standard. And this digital age with all of its text messaging, forums, and blogs does not excuse you, the journalist from proper spelling and punctuation!

[takes a breather and steps down off of his soapbox]




RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By fezzik1620 on 11/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By joex444 on 11/12/2008 12:16:16 PM , Rating: 2
Now why would he edit it and put "k new" back into "knew" and insert the word "make" but refuse to stick in that pesky "a"?

Do you really think Microsoft misses few details? You do realize that implies Microsoft is near-perfect. Come on, I like Windows a lot, but I wouldn't go that far...


RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By joex444 on 11/12/2008 12:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
There's also this
quote:
On average, it has begun to pick up outbreaks a couple weeks before the Centers For Disease Control, the critical government organization tasked with tracking disease , can .


Seriously, do you really need that "can"? It is just very awkwardly placed. The sentence makes perfect sense and has good form without it.


RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By Tegeril on 11/12/2008 8:19:12 PM , Rating: 2
Because the "a" wasn't really missing. The sentence is fine without it.


RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By Alexstarfire on 11/13/2008 1:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
True, but it changes the meaning of the sentence, well part of it anyways, entirely.


RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By jimpaka on 11/12/2008 12:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you, fezzik. Journalists who don't proofread are not journalists.


RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By ice456789 on 11/12/2008 1:44:12 PM , Rating: 4
You should've used Google proofread.


RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By Clauzii on 11/12/2008 4:57:25 PM , Rating: 2
Besides spelling, the addon 'gTranslate' for Firefox(using Google translation) is nice for translating almost any language to any language directly from a webpage.


RE: MICK PROOFREAD!
By wordsworm on 11/13/2008 1:46:28 AM , Rating: 3
Journalists have bucket-loads of editors, proofreaders, and copy editors whose job it is to do their best to make sure the errors are all ferreted out before their prints make it out to the public. I have a rather low opinion of journalists - they're hacks, propagandists, and for the most part only know how to write dribble. They write for an audience who passed grade 8 English. Yet, mistakes constantly make their way into print. I don't think Jason has quite the host of helpers that those journalists do. Also, I read his articles, which is more than I can say for the waste-of-paper that is the newspaper.


"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home














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