Google CPG blog - News and Notes from Google"s CPG Vertical

Flu Knew?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reading the New York Times over lunch I discovered that Google has developed an interesting way to track the flu.

The New York Times story outlines how Google has spent the last year analyzing search trends to help indicate where and when the flu is breaking out. The theory being that people will increase searches on flu-like terms when they have flu-like symptoms.

Google Flu Trends
also indicates where and when the flu is hitting a week to 10 days faster than what is currently available from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

What's this got to do with Consumer Package Goods? As you likely know, search ads work so well because they are solution based. When I'm searching for information on a sore throat, a cough drop or TheraFlu a search ad is very likely to be useful and helpful, bringing an answer to my search query and one step closer to some relief from my sickness.

Now CPG brands that are helpful to someone suffering from the flu can geographically target to regions that are likely seeing a sharp rise in flu suffers. That's nothing to sneeze at.