links for 2008-11-17

  • Interesting critique of Typealyzer's analysis of blogger personality types. Well, tools like that are always more for entertainment value than anything else, I think…
  • "Can search query trends provide an accurate, reliable model of real-world phenomena? We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. A pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries from each state and region are added together. We compared our query counts with data from a surveillance system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found that some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in various regions of the United States.

    "During the 2007-2008 flu season, an early version of Google Flu Trends was used to share results each week with the CDC. Across each of the nine surveillance regions of the United States, we were able to accurately estimate current flu levels one to two weeks faster than published CDC reports."

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