kottke.org posts about Google Books

God fave the Queen!Sep 25 2013

While researching the etymology of the word "fave", a noun that's in the process of being verbed,1 I noticed that, according to Google's ngram viewer, the word was much more popular in the 1600-1700s than it is now.

fave etymology

A bit of investigation reveals that Google's book-scanning software is at fault; it can't recognize the long s commonly used in books prior to the 1800s. So each time it encounters "save" with a long s, it sees "fave":

Fave UsFave Us 02Fave Us 03Fave Us 04

  1. "Fave" (n., adj.) is slang for "favorite", a usage that started in the US in the 1920s, as in "Teddy Roosevelt was totally my fave President". Recently, "fave" (v.) has come to mean liking or marking an item as a favorite on social media services like Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Stellar, etc. (IMPORTANT: It's "fave", not "fav". Let's get this one right, people.)

Spy magazine on Google BooksFeb 17 2011

Google has put every issue of the influential Spy magazine up on Google Books to read for free. (via kbandersen)

Google's page turnersOct 20 2009

This is page 471 of The Anglo-American Telegraphic Code book (previously mentioned here).

Google Books Fingers

Looks like the scanner caught one of Google's pink-fingered elves at work. A quick search reveals several other such errors.

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