“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.


(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.

24 thoughts on ““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. 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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  5. 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! 🙂

  6. 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…

  7. 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. 😀

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  9. 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.

  10. I wrote a short story in school in 1982. The antagonist was the mysterious Dr. Google. I had no idea until my sister sent me a copy. I have no idea where I came up with the name. However, I did read Richie Rich comics as a child and perhaps recalled the name googol from one of the issues, and misspelled it myself.

  11. I was always syrprised that nobody else ever noticed that Enid Blyton had invented the word GOOGLE. I always thoight that it was because her books are not widly read these days. Maybe i just didnt hear from those who still do read them.

  12. the magic faraway tree, read it to my daughter in early “80”‘s , she was three year old wanted to eat a “google bun”, ( had a fruit bun , which called a google bun), HOWEVER , this book in it original form (circa 1943, which was the copy I had , bought from a op shop back then, was the Enid Blyton books “banned” in many libaries. (a most sought over “collectors” copy), it was rumoured that this book was written by a male, and had hidden suggestions within the book, I would say read the original and you decide.

  13. Have been creating a faraway tree in my garden for our grandson Bodhi … Giving us lots of opportunities to talk about the visiting lands and the characters etc so I have been reminding myself about the stories and was surprised and excited to see mention of Google buns! Surely this massiveness that is Google did not come from miss Blyton and a bun? I actually accept they probably meant the googol definition was the intention but would have thought such clever people would have ‘googled’ the other alternative definitions … Made me chuckle X

  14. Vincent Cartwright Vickers wrote about a Google monster in a book of 1913 which was republished in the 1970s. So the Enid Blyton reference is not quite the first for the word. However, it is the most tasty!

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