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Experience Management

How Big is 1.5 Billion?

photo by apardavila on flickr

Sadly, I did not win the Powerball Lottery (I admit it is hard to win when you don’t play) so I am still here writing blog posts. Oh well, I kind of like my job.
The frenzy did get me thinking about how big is a billion. A little back of the napkin math suggests that Perficient’s Google Search Appliance (GSA) implementation team has indexed over a quarter of a billion documents and records for our customers. How much content is that?
If each document was an average of 5 pages long, that would amount to a stack of paper 98.6 miles tall, or roughly the beginning of Low Earth Orbit for satellites.  If the documents were about 100KB in size, it would take 23 one terabyte hard drives to store them.
Surprisingly, it would only take thirteen G100 Google Search Appliances, or three G500’s, to index this many documents. So everybody, get out there and fill up your GSAs!
What was in all of those documents?  Lots of pictures of cats with funny sayings underneath and 80’s Depeche Mode mp3’s?  Hopefully not.  : )
This is a broad generalization, but most of the content was probably office productivity documents — everything from corporate memos, to technical manuals, to handbooks and regulations.  Other interesting content sources have included:

  • Real estate contracts for retail stores
  • Purchase orders and invoices for a beverage manufacturer
  • Standard operating procedures for a pet food manufacturer
  • Customer support case notes for a high-tech software company
  • Academic course catalogs for an ivy league university
  • Circuit board schematics for a silicon chip manufacturer
  • Corporate training videos for a credit card company
  • Sales literature for a luxury car maker
  • Oil well test logs for a petrochemical producer
  • Item inventories and aisle locations for a grocery store chain
  • TV and movie listings for a premium cable network

And the list goes on and on and on. I continue to be amazed at the seemingly infinite number of ways the Google Search Appliance can be used.  Our implementation team never has a dull moment. The Powerball money would have been nice, but this job is a pretty great runner-up.
To learn more about the Google Search, download our most recent guide which highlights market trends, how to optimize your use of search, and how to find the the most value and bang for your buck with search.

Thoughts on “How Big is 1.5 Billion?”

  1. Fortunately, today the storage space is enough, but I think that in a not too distant future with the growth in the digitization of memories, documents and thoughts, the space is not enough.
    Except to become rich hardware companies.

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Chad Johnson

Chad is a Principal of Search and Knowledge Discovery at Perficient. He was previously the Director of Perficient's national Google for Work practice.

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