Googol or google buns – where does that name really come from?

Prompted by a bit of etymological exploration from Anjo (being an ex ESL teacher these things always get me) I figured I’d use A9 to support my contention that all this stuff about the name Google coming from a googol is a bit far fetched really.

You see the real source for the name is Enid Blyton, in particular from The Magic Faraway Tree series where Silky and Moon Face are forever serving up google buns, pop cakes and toffee shocks. I know this because I’ve been reading them to our two beautiful girls over the last year and can prove it (a bit) by this reference (you might need to have an Amazon login?) in The Beautiful Cricket Ball and the Little Toy Store (obviously A9 haven’t got found to Joe, Beth & Frannie’s adventures quite yet.)

Indeed, you’ve gotta wonder if the name doesn’t come from Blyton full stop, she was certainly writing in the 1930s and Wikipedia describes the coining of the term as follows:

“The term was coined in 1938 by nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner.”

Who knows, is he still around?

4 replies on “Googol or google buns – where does that name really come from?”

  1. I vaguely remember reading the term googol in Donald Knuth’s “The Art of Computer Programming” series a while back but cannot find it again (it is not in the index of my copies). Always thought that Knuth coined googol first. As said, it is difficult to invent new words :-).

    An alternative inspiration for Google as the company name, is that it was a pun on Tim Koogle, the CEO of Yahoo (a major search engine when Google was developed). I posed this theory to some colleagues, but as mathematicians, they thought Google had to originate from googol.

  2. Pingback: Monkeymagic
  3. I Love the threee books of the faraway tree adventures and agree with you in all entirety, save for the shamefull renaming of the three children from ‘Jo, Bessie and Fanny’ to the PC version of ‘Joe Beth and Franny’, book censorship is the thin wedge of fascism

  4. I know! We’ve got some new versions and picked up some of the old illustrated ones the other day… what’s particularly interesting to me though isn’t the names so much as the way they change the chores… they all work in the garden now rather than just joe while the girls help mother!!!

    Interesting thought though (we’ve got two little girls) about what kind of models you want to expose them to…

    Time to get out the brothers Grimm and scare the sh*t out of them perhaps :o)

Comments are closed.