Google and Googol

5 03 2009

I apologize for not posting in a while. There’s this wonderful Flu thing going around, and I was lucky enough to have won the lottery on that contest. Now, if I could only win the real lottery….

Anyways, I have an interesting tidbit about Google. I had a high schooler ask me what a googol was. First, I had to explain that a googol was NOT a search engine, but a math term, and the search engine creators made a word play on the math word Googol. Now, if you were to go to Wikipedia or some other source of information on the web (like there aren’t any…) and look up Google, it would take you directly to information about the search engine.

The real math term is spelled GOOGOL, and was coined in 1938. There are a couple of ways of expressing exactly what a googol is, but it’s basically the number one (1) followed by one hundred zeros. Mathmatically, we write this as:

10,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000,​000,000,000

That is what a googol is. Its official English number name is ten duotrigintillion. But you already knew that, right? Now don’t get this confused with a Googolplex – that’s something different, but incorporates googols nontheless. But we’ll save that for another day! So go out and show your friends just how smart you are!

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