Mankind's capacity to store the colossal amount of information in the world has been measured by scientists.
The study, published in the journal Science, calculates the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 as 295 exabytes. That is the equivalent of 1.2 billion average hard drives. One exabyte is a billion gigabytes.
The researchers calculated the figure by estimating the amount of data held on 60 technologies from PCs and and DVDs to paper adverts and books. Scientists calculated the figure by estimating the amount of data held on 60 analogue and digital technologies during the period from 1986 to 2007. They considered everything from computer hard drives to obsolete floppy discs, and x-ray films to microchips on credit cards.
The fastest growing area of information manipulation has been computation. During the two decades the survey covers, global computing capacity increased by 58% per year.