“Google buns”: The first ever use of the word Google?

No,  “Google Buns”  isn’t the long-awaited follow-up to the justly famous “Studmuffins of Science” calendar. (By the way, Dr. September bore the caption “Buns. Biceps. Bunsen Burners.”)

Like most, I’d always believed that the word Google originated with the mis-spelling of Googol by the company’s founders.  Googol refers to the number represented by the digit one followed by a hundred zeros. I know this because I once read a Richie Rich comic where Richie identifies the enemy, who goes by the code name Googol, as their associate who’d once been followed during war time by a hundred Japanese planes; these planes were called Zeros. Of course I recall all this perfectly but always forget my ATM pin.

richie

(Pic. from http://www.progressiveruin.com/2007_09_30_archive.html)

I finally arrive at the meat of this post: the British author Enid Blyton seems to have coined the word Google waaaaaay back.  I recently (re)read The Magic Faraway Tree  (first published in 1943) and came across this passage:

“Come on,” said Moon-Face. “Come and eat a Google Bun and see what you think of it.”

Soon they were all sitting on the broad branches outside Moon-Face’s house, eating Pop Biscuits and Google Buns. The buns were most peculiar. They each had a very large currant in the middle, and this was filled with sherbet. So when you got to the currant and bit it the sherbet frothed out and filled your mouth with fine bubbles that tasted delicious. The children got a real surprise when they bit their currants, and Moon-Face almost fell off the branch with laughing.

Pic from http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/book-details.php?id=216&title=The+Magic+Faraway+Tree

I don’t know if anyone else has discovered the Blyton-Brin connection, but for now–I AM THE ONE.

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17 responses to ““Google buns”: The first ever use of the word Google?

  1. I thought I knew my Blyton better than I knew anything else. And I also thought my brain made ridiculous connections even where none exist.
    You have definitely stolen a march on me!!!
    I bow to thee.

    And I am so looking forward to rediscovering Enid Blyton with my kids – hopefully soon.

  2. When I first came across Google, the Google buns were what came to my mind. Nice connection with the Internet bubble – I didn’t think of that!

  3. @ Natasha: :) I guess the elder one is almost ready for Noddy?

    @ Sra: Thanks!

  4. Both of them love having Noddy read out to them – started before the older one was two.

    I was thinking more along the lines of Mr. Meddle Muddles and all those other titles that I stopped reading a very long time back.

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  6. bahut badhiya hai

  7. “Of course I recall all this perfectly but always forget my ATM pin.” LOL!
    BTW, there is this Russian writer called Gogol, too..

  8. Oops! The cartoon pictures made me think you’re some teenager who never heard of Gogol. Just realized this is the same blog on which I commented on Rushdie. There is no way you don’t know Gogol. No offence was intended! :)

  9. @ Deepdowne: None taken :)

  10. We are just making google buns – out of cookie dough and sherbet – we’ll let you know how they turn out!!!

  11. @ Juli&Sarah: That sounds amazing, you must be very skilled chefs indeed! I’m so curious to know how they turned out.

  12. Hi…I was re reading Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree and came across the term Google Buns- I thought that I was perhaps the 1st person to have discovered the 1st use of ‘Google” ….lol…

  13. @ anandi: You know, I thought I was the first one too, but I’m sure other Blyton readers discovered it before I did!
    Thanks for commenting!

  14. I recently re-read the Cherry Tree Farm/Will Farm trilogy and the Faraway Tree trilogy, needing some easy reading after a long semester at Uni. To revisit my absolutely favourite books (which I refuse to get rid of) was wonderful. I was stunned to read the word “Google” in the pages of my book, not having read it for years. I’m so totally curious now as to how the term “Google” originated both for the search engine and Blyton…any ideas anyone??? It’d be wonderful to know a piece of Blyton is known all around the world. :D

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  16. Dominique Hazael-Massieux

    Here is an older instance of Google:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=rajPAAAAMAAJ&dq=google&pg=PA554#v=onepage&q=google&f=false
    “A gradually modulating hawl, a squeak, a squall, a thrill, and a gutteral google-google-google”

  17. Rereading “faraway tree” to my daughter I thought I might have discovered the origin of Google. How did I find out I wasn’t? I Googled it, of course.