This sort of thing is seriously smart. And a real indication of where Google can go by using the "Wisdom of the Crowds" as evidenced by activity passing through its own search engines.
Google Flu Trends.
Google have found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends can use aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in US states up to two weeks faster than traditional systems.This work is overseen by Google.org - the multi-billion dollar charitable arm that Google have established. They aim to use the power of information and technology to address the global challenges of our age: climate change, poverty and emerging disease. In collaboration with experienced partners working in each of these fields, Google plan to invest resources and tap the strengths of their employees and global operations to advance five major initiatives:
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