U.S. households consumed about 3.6 zettabytes (define) of information in 2008, according to a study just released by the University of California, San Diego. One zettabyte is 1,000,000,000 trillion bytes. The researchers equated the total bytes consumed to thick paperback novels stacked seven feet high across the United States -- including Alaska.
The research effort was announced last year along with the sponsorship of several tech heavyweights including AT&T (NYSE: T), Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), IBM (NYSE: IBM), LSI, Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), Seagate Technology and PARC.
The study measured information consumed by U.S. consumers in and outside the home for non-work related reasons. This included going to the movies, listening to the radio, talking on a cellphone, playing videogames, surfing the Internet and reading the newspaper.
On average, a typical U.S. citizen consumes 34GB and 100,000 words of information a day, according to the report's author, Roger Bohn, who directs the Global Information Industry Center at UC San Diego's School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.
And where is all this information coming from? TV still rules. The report estimates on average, 41 percent of information time is spent watching TV. This includes DVDs, recorded TV shows and live programming. The advent of advanced mobile devices is having an impact, too. The report estimates American consumers watched 36 million hours of television on mobile devices each month.
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