Goodbye petabytes, hello zettabytes

  • Massive figure equal to a million million gigabytes
  • Planet’s digital content grew by 62% last year

Every man, woman and child on the planet using micro-blogging site Twitter for a century. For many people that may sound like a vision of hell, but for watchers of the tremendous growth of digital communications it is a neat way of presenting the sheer scale of the so-called digital universe. The explosion of social networking, online video services and digital photography, plus the continued popularity of mobile phones, email and web browsing, coupled with the growing desire of corporations and governments to know and store ever more data about everyone has created an unprecedented amount of digital information and introduced a new word to the nerd lexicon: a zettabyte.Research published today estimates that the so-called digital universe grew by 62% last year to 800,000 petabytes – a petabyte is a million gigabytes – or 0.8 zettabytes. That is the equivalent of all the information that could be stored on 75bn Apple iPads, which would equal the digital output from a century’s worth of constant tweeting by all of Earth’s inhabitants.To read this report in The Guardian in full, see:
www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/may/03/humanity-digital-output-zettabyte

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