Up until now every thing indicates that it is only in North American English (Unites States and Canada) where a "billion" has 9 zeros. In any other country, including United Kingdom, and in any other language having a similar word (billion, billón, etc.) a billion has 12 zeros. Have a look at billion-usage table by country and help me to fill out those empty spaces.
Why? Who knows! One non-proved theory says that one of the earliest authors of mathematics book for USA primary school made a mistake that was never corrected or people were never aware of, until now.
The North American English's billion is actually called "milliard" everywhere else. The good thing about the word "Milliard" is that it does exists in North-American English, British English and has partner words in other languages such as in Spanish ("Millardo") and French ("Milliard") and means the same in all of those countries: 1,000'000,000 (One thousand millions).
The word "millardo" was recently included in the Spanish language by the Royal Academy of The Spanish Language to facilitate translations and avoid misunderstandings.
The proposal I want to put forward is to use the word "Milliar" in our North American English and stick to a world wide standard instead of "billion", so its actual meaning is assimilated world wide without misinterpretations.
Notas Curiosas sobre números, unidades, nombres y símbolos