How many books in the world?

(Image courtesy of

Have you ever wondered just how many books there are in the world?  Well, Google knows.

The answer?  129,864,880!

Now just how did they come to this conclusion? You can read an article right here that will show you just how Google came up with that number.  And they claim it is pretty accurate… least until Sunday.

Does Google always know?

People often Twitter interesting things, and sometimes, they are worth a follow-up.  Sometimes, you wish you hadn’t.  Today,  I came across a very strange item that referred to Google and its intuitiveness, which often gives startling results, so I just had to try it.

Have you noticed that when you use Google to search, as you start typing in the Google box, it will begin to suggest topics based on the words you have already given.  Often, you don’t even have to finish typing your search as Google will bring it up on the list anyway and you can just click the item.

However, Google has built in some funny little quirks.  Why?  After doing some research, many people suspect that they are trying to keep the search engine interesting and used more often than any other search engine.  By providing an intuitive answer, not only will you find what you are searching for, but you’ll also be given a few choices that you might not have thought of.  And Google makes these extras really appealing sometimes, or at least, really off the wall!

The Twitter suggestion was to type in “Why won’t”.  That’s it.  Just two little words and Google will start to suggest what you might be looking for.  The results are downright wacky for this one (and a little disgusting, so be prepared if you try the search).  It certainly will make me watch Google whenever I search from now on.

So…what will you search for today?

An answer engine!

We’re all familiar with search engines, such as Google, but I think we are all ready for something different…an answer engine!  What’s the difference?  A search engine as we know it, allows us to ask it for something, and the result is a list of pages that give us information regarding the search.  With search engines, you must then go into the pages and find the information you are looking for.

Wolfram Alpha was created by Stephen Wolfram, and is designed to be used just as much as Google, but in a different way.  With Wolfram Alpha, you ask a specific question and it will not bring up hundreds of pages containing the words you are searching for, but rather….the answer to the question.  It is less about finding information and more about computing the answers.  The site is expected to launch in May 2009, and there is much buzz that this might be as big as Google eventually.  You can read more about the site here.


Do you YouTube or Google?


I often use Google to find information, at least a dozen or more times a day and it is usually a great help.  I work at a library and I am still stunned by how often people don’t use the internet to find information.  Many people are still back in the dark ages when it comes to doing research online about anything, and although I know that you have to be careful about what you read online, many times you can find something useful, or at least something which will lead you on the path to finding the correct answer.

But more and more lately, I find that I am not “googling” to find information, but rather, I’m turning to YouTube.  It used to be just a place where people posted videos about tornado watching or crazy pets and even themselves singing.  But now, people are posting wonderful, useful videos about every subject you can imagine, and many times they are simple and creative and exactly what I am looking for.  And it seems I’m not the only one who has “discovered” this little gem.

An article in the NY Times talks about the fact that our youngest generation is not a Google generation anymore, but a YouTube generation.  They are using the videos as research tools more often than turning to Google for help.  Does that have something to say about this new generation?  Google tends to be print based, with still photos and links, whereas YouTube is vibrant, active video.  It is alive and instant and exactly the way our young people are demanding their information now.

YouTube is owned by Google, so essentially I guess we’re still using Google, but the medium is unique and starting to overtake the traditional way of searching.

How do you search for information online?

Favicons to wowsers

Here we are at Friday again, and another word has popped into the forefront of our language. Favicon. This is actually pronounced “fave -eye- con” and stands for “favourites icon”. It is the little picture that you see in the location bar of your browser, right before the web address. It is the latest way for companies to provide a professional logo to go along with their sites so that a bookmark or favourite in your browser is immediately recognizable.

I have always noticed these little pictures, but only thought about them when Google changed the icon that had always appeared in front of the Google address. Apparently, Google decided that they needed a stronger icon, something that could appear in many different types of media now that more and more people are using cell phones to access the web. So what did they also try?

These were some of the ideas that they played with, and from the sounds of it, they haven’t really settled on the one that appears right now.

So now that new words are constantly being blended to form catchy web lingo, where do we go from here? Will “summer holidays” soon be known as “summidays”? Or how about “web browser”? Why isn’t it known as a “wowser”? What’s next?