Mountain View, Calif. – Google (NASD: GOOG) this week introduced a new
searchable database of 500 billion words contained in books published between
1500 and 2008, intended for use by researchers of language, history and other disciplines,
as well as the general public.

The database was created from Google’s index of
some 5.2 million books digitized as part of its Google Books project, and
includes texts in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Russian.

research paper published in Science utilized the database and found that,
before 1880, technological advances took 66 years on average to be adopted by
the public, while between 1880 and 1920 the time period shrunk to 27 years.

goal is to give an 8-year-old the ability to browse cultural trends throughout
history, as recorded in books," Erez Lieberman Aiden, a junior fellow at
the Society of Fellows at Harvard, told The New York Times.


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(Google blog)