No surprise: a lot. In this TEDxBoston talk, Jean-Baptiste Michel and Erez Lieberman Aiden offer an entertaining and insightful overview of the computations they have been running on 5 million books scanned by Google. Those 5 million books offer up more than 500 billion words published over hundreds of years and the patterns they reveal are fascinating. The video is only about 14 minutes long, so I won’t spoil any of the highlights by writing about them here. It’s well worth your time to watch the whole thing.
Many thanks to Brain Pickings for pointing this one out.