Well here’s a nice bit of search engine trend news: search engine query traffic detects outbreaks, and there’s accompanying paper in Nature. Can we compete with that? Not really, but here’s a plot anyway:
This shows a peak for January which agrees with the Google and CDC data. However, this compare-stuff query is on all pages in all countries. We could narrow it down a bit to “flu” and “cough” along with “New York” on a web page:
and you get similar results.
At this point it’s worth pointing out that Technorati’s charts are looking good these days, although they take a long time to generate. Here’s one for flu vs. cough. Blogs are probably better than the web as a whole for this kind of analysis, but there won’t be a blog version of Compare Stuff coming any time soon, sorry!
If you’re into all this kind of stuff, check out the legacy PubMed version of Compare Stuff – where you can plot the relative amount of influenza research in different countries for example.