Google able to predict flu spread

The NYT reports today that the philanthropic unit of Google is using flu data from CDC and Google searches for keywords such as “muscle aches” and “flu symptoms”. A combination of the data including regional indicators helps to identify in which geographic regions there might be flu break-outs.

More information about this “predict and prevent” project is available on

Again, an example of public data use by a private organization to private a public good.


About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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