Google launches online flu shot finder

November 11, 2009
Syringes with influenza virus vaccine sitting on a tray. Google on Tuesday launched an online tool for tracking down where to get vaccinations against H1N1 and seasonal influenza in the United States.

Google on Tuesday launched an online tool for tracking down where to get vaccinations against H1N1 and seasonal influenza in the United States.

The flu-shot finder service went live online at .com/flushot and will soon be available at flu.gov and websites of the American Lung Association, according to the California-based Internet giant.

"This project is just beginning and we have not yet received information about flu shot clinics for many locations," Roni Zeiger and Jennifer Haroon of Google said in a blog post.

"Especially given slower than expected vaccine production, we think it's important to bring together flu shot information in a coherent manner."

In October, Google expanded a flu-tracking tool to include 16 more countries, analyzing local patterns in search queries to determine the spread of the , and notably swine flu, the H1N1 virus which the labeled a global pandemic earlier this year.

Japan, Russia, and much of Europe are now included at Google Flu Trends. The California Internet powerhouse has also made information available online at google.org/flutrends/ available in 37 languages.

Google had already expanded Flu Trends to include Australia, Mexico, and New Zealand since launching the free tool with US data last November.

Flu Trends counts the number of flu-related queries on the Google Internet search engine and provides estimates on influenza outbreaks in respective regions.

(c) 2009 AFP

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