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Google has developed a new model for its Flu Trends tool that attempts to predict the intensity of flu season across the world based on the number of searches for certain flu-related terms. Launched in 2009, the original Flu Trends model has performed pretty well, but over-predictions (sometimes significant) over the past couple years have led to a spate of criticism over Google’s methodology.

Whether that criticism is fair or not, [company]Google[/company] has heeded it and retooled the Flu Trends model to include data from the Centers for for Disease Control and Prevention throughout flu season rather than just to initially train the model and establish a baseline. Research published earlier this year showed that models combining Google’s data with the CDC’s data actually perform best of all. That shouldn’t be surprising: although some researchers criticized Google’s « big data » approach, a truer big data approach would combine data from multiple sources…

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