Estimates reach figure of almost 300 billion gigabytes

Global data volumes calculated

The amount of data stored in the world by 2007 was 295 exabytes a study by the Journal Science has calculated.

Data held on 25 technologies from PCs to books was estimated, and the result showed the staggering amount of information in the world.

To put the figure into perspective, this is the equivalent to 295 billion gigabytes or 1.2 billion average hard drives.

“If we were to take all that information and store it in books, we could cover the entire area of China in 3 layers of books,” Dr Martin Hilbert of the University of Southern California told the BBC. Also, if all the data was stored on CDs, they could be stacked to a height which would pass the moon.

As computer storage becomes cheaper, and more computers having hard drives equalling terabytes are sold, this figure is expected to grow rapidly.

Although the figures seem large, Dr Hilbert commented on how they are dwarfed by the storage capacity of nature: “The Human DNA in one single body can store around 300 times more information than we store in all out technological devices.”

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