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Tracking H1N1: Google Flu Trends Go Global

Earlier today, Google announced that it was expanding its flu trends program to 16 additional countries, bringing the total to 20 countries. Google first released the program last November after noticing a geographical correlation between online flu searches and disease hotspots. The program was said to be especially helpful in Mexico following the emergence of the new H1N1 swine flu there last spring.

Most of the countries Google added are in Europe (China and India are noticeably absent), but it's still a promising start. As shown by the map below, the U.S. and Hungary are the only countries currently cloaked in red, indicating high flu activity. But the spectrum could change as flu season gets underway in the Northern Hemisphere. The first shipments of H1N1 vaccines are starting to arrive in the U.S. and other nations, too, but whether enough people will get vaccinated is anybody's guess—even Google analytics aren't equipped to tackle that one.