I was doing some quick calculations in an excel spreadsheet and wanted to multiple a value around the number of seconds in a year. I did not know the number off the top of my head. So the simple way to solve that issue was to do a fast google search. I love the type ahead answers and google just answered the question for me, with out even having to go to a site
I did a search for “seconds in a year” While looking at the results before mys search was done. I wanted to compare if Bing or yahoo had that feature. So I opened up a new tab and ran the same search. Then something interesting happened. I got 3 different results. Google, yahoo, and bing all answered the search question of “seconds in a year” differently. Before I go into my finding, I do want to recognize that the question can be disputed. Because the definition of a year was not defined. As you can see from the results I did not specifiy a calendar year, leap year or Julian year.
Since my quick and dirty excel document was just a rough calculation I did not necessarly care about the type of year, only wanting the seconds.
Google answered: 1 year = 31 556 926 seconds – This is based on the Julian year (probably what I wanted)
Bing answered: 1 year = 31,536,000 seconds (calendar year)
Yahoo answered : 1 Second = 3.1688765E-8 Years. I think yahoo was confused. It thought I wanted to know how many years were in 1 second.
At the end of the day, I took the google answer and finished the task I set out to complete. But this brought up a good conversation at work on what search engine to trust. During this process I did read an article on calendar / seconds at answers.com. Reminding myself what the Julian calendar was and leap year.