You’d have to be living on a mountain peak in Siberia cut off from everyone on earth to not know Google.com but chances are good that many of you have never heard of the philanthropic arm of Google www.Google.org
Google.org “develops technologies to help address global challenges and supports innovative partners through grants, investments and in-kind resources.”
The three main “branches” of Google.org are:
1. Google for nonprofits which “empowers nonprofit organizations with access to premium Google products, technical training and community platforms for networking”
2. Crisis Response which “makes critical information more accessible around natural disasters and humanitarian crises.”
and finally, the one that relates to us today…
3. Dengue and Flu trends.
Based on the observation that certain search terms are “good indicators of flu activity”, Google.org flu trends tracks flu around the world.
You can view the whole world at a glance or zoom in on a specific continent, country or states (either by clicking on the map or by selecting from the drop-down menu).
At this time, they are working experimentally on specific cities as well.
The site gives you the current status via a pop-up box when you map over the area as well as visually, usually a color “thermometer”
Additionally, when you click on a country or state, you get a chart showing the history flu activity (the default is 2011-2012 but you can also select as far back as 2005).
Here, for example is what the graph looks like for Washington state where National Safety, Inc. is located.
Google also allows you to download and explore flu trends for Google Earth.
Google also provides a link to the CDC as well as information on how to fight influenza. Pretty cool site!