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Submission + - Could Google predict illness trends?

thefickler writes: With the Swine Flu pandemic scare not long past, Google is embarking on a study to test a theory that internet searches can predict illness trends. Users who search for keywords relating to illness and medicines may, in randomly selected cases, be asked whether their search was prompted by a medical condition (either their own or someone they know.) By doing this, Google should be able to extrapolated how many people actually affected by an illness are searching for information about that particular illness at any one time, allowing Google to track significant patterns.

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