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!

Keyword popularity across the Blogosphere
This chart illustrates how many times blog posts across the Blogosphere contained the following keywords.

flu vs. cough

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.

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