Google Books Determines That There Are 129,864,880 Books In The World (For Now)
Google Books is one of the most straightforward projects in the Google meta-project of cataloguing and indexing every piece of data in the world. The human race has, after all, only been literate for around five or six thousand years, which makes the task measurable, if not easy. The project is also interesting for many other reasons — social, technological, and logistical. The impact of all of the world’s literature being searchable online is incalculable, but the methods being used by Google to accomplish that are a fascinating convergence of legacy and high tech systems.
The project blog has just put up a fascinating (to me, at least) post about the way in which they’ve calculated what they believe is a reasonably accurate count of every book in the world. The number is 129,864,880 — until a few more get added, or an obscure library’s records are merged, or what have you.
Google Books hit 10 million books last October, so there’s still a long way to go!