Monday, 13 December 2010

R at Google

Ni Wang and Max Lin from Google gave a talk to the New York R User Group discussing how R is used inside Google. About 150 R developers attended the meeting. Ni and Max said that R is used very widely at Google and is an integral part of the analytics work they do.
One interesting application is the Google Flu Trends project, which uses R to estimate current flu activity based on Google search results. Google Trends aggregates user search queries showing how often a particular word or phrase has been searched. Correlation tests are run on the search results to obtain a manageable data set of potentially relevant variables. Then using R, they massage the data and create models with optimized weights for each search term. From this, they are able to reasonably estimate current flu activity for different regions around the world.

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