When compared to the Centers for Disease Control's national surveillance of influenza lab tests, data from Google Flu Trends is 25 percent less accurate at estimating rates of lab-confirmed influenza infections, according to a new study out of the University of Washington.
The findings are being reported at the American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference in New Orleans this week.
Google Flu Trends estimates national rates of flu-like activity by monitoring the popularity of certain Google search queries in real time. This method is precisely the problem, because the influenza virus does not always cause influenza-like illnesses. (The researchers … Read more