We know that when school is in session during the Fall, it can also be a season of communal flu and the cooties. Thus, what do you think of Google's FluTrend - http://www.google.org/flutrends/ ? It is good for writing a blog posting or a report for a kid, but from a bigger perspective, do you think it can help nations prevent flu by looking at the trends?

Having worked in market research I have an intimate understanding of how they get to their final numbers with the inevitable margin of error. The term is called extrapolation and it basically means they take a representative sample of a larger population and expand out the test results from the sample to correlate to the larger population. The margin of error allows the reporting agency to account for the unpredictable.

The problem is that unless it is an extremely scientific study done by a neutral agency, the numbers are not always that reliable. In the case of the Google FluTrend, it may help or it may not. I think that this more of a case of Google taking a hot topic and ensuring traffic to their sites by providing additional information to an information driven society.

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