What’s A Google ?

by gowtham 2010-02-13 19:46:19

When you hear the word Google the first image that comes to mind has to be the famous internet search engine but does the word actually mean anything ? Well the answer is a firm yes because it comes from the term “Googol” which represents a number (written as a 1 followed by 100 zeros) so large that it’s actually larger than the total number of atoms in the known universe.
As you might imagine the number is rarely used except maybe in theoretical and computational calculations, however the big question is whether a number bigger than a Googol exists ? Well funnily enough there is and it’s called a googolplex which would be a number 1 followed by, wait for it not one thousand zeros, not even one million zeros but a googol zeroes.
Getting confused ? Well you should be because this number is so large that it’s almost impossible to imagine and also impossible to write because doing so would require more space than the known universe provides. Absolutely mind boggling don’t you think!
Lastly for those of you that are interested in where this term actually came from, well it was popularized in the 1940’s by the american mathematician Edward Kasner who created it as a useful number when comparing unimaginably large numbers with infinity. Oh and the actual term “googol” was coined by his then 9 year old nephew Milton Sirotta, not bad for a 9 year old!

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