Charlotta Duse about
Google Flu Trends
By analyzing the big data from our google searches, the Google Flu Trends claims to provide ”near real-time estimates of flu activity for a number of countries and regions around the world”.
The idea of the GFT is that if people feel sick, they will search for medication, expected symptom etc. on Google, and the company will be able to analyze this user data and see how and where the flu is spreading. Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schonberger calls the system ”more useful and [a more] timely indicator than government statistics with their natural reporting lags. Public health officials were armed with valuable information” (2013:pos45).
But voices are also raised for the contrary, voices saying that GFT failed its purpose various times. Some even calls it ”a prime example of what can go wrong when you read too much into your Big Data”.