How Much Does the Internet Weigh?

The answer might be in your breakfast!

In a recent discussion on the growth trend of Big Data, a question popped into my mind: how much does all this data weigh?

By that, I don’t mean the physical hardware and infrastructure. My question is that the data must be comprised of something at a sub-atomic level, and how much would all of that add up to?

In doing my research, I stumbled on this article and this video that address the problem from a sub-atomic level. It turns out that Dr. John D. Kubiatowicz figured out that loading an Amazon Kindle with thousands of books would equate to 10-18 grams of electrons. All of this digital data is stored in the form of electrons. Now this amount on the Kindle is basically immeasurably small because the most-sensitive scales can only weigh down to 10-9 grams.

However, back in 2011, using Dr. Kubiatowicz’s research as a foundation, YouTuber Vsauce found that when you add it all up, you get the weight of a strawberry. That amounts to about 50 grams.

Fast forward to today, with internet data doubling about every 5 years, and you’re looking at about 2 ½ strawberries.

So, the next time you’re enjoying a yogurt parfait with strawberries on top, or a fruit salad with strawberries – not to mention strawberry jam or ice cream – you might be eating the mass of the entire internet several times over. With all of that, be careful not to choke!

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