Don’t Google This!

This is a rather disconcerting article. Basically Google is killing the planet. Perfect. The article claims:

While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2 Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.”

Even more disconcerting considering that my immediate reaction was to google it in order to find out if it was true.

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Genevieve is mildly opposed to writing in the third person about herself, as it sounds rather pretentious and forced. But she will prevail. She likes books and curry and opera and that feeling you get when a professor compliments your writing/thinking etc. She is double majoring in English Honours and International Relations, which sometimes feels like the fast track to a nervous breakdown, but she loves it. She was raised internationally, and has no idea where she is 'from', but currently divides her time between Shanghai, Vancouver and the ever exotic Bellingham, Washington. She is somewhat intimidated by her fellow writers on Terry*, but she tries. If you like her, or hate her, or just want to read more, she also keeps a personal rant--er, blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/genevieve/.

4 Responses to “Don’t Google This!”

  1. Camille

    I can’t say I know enough about the situation to really form an opinion about it, but isn’t this kind of picking on the big guy? People search via Google because it works well and finds what they are looking for. But if you take Google out of the equation, users won’t just stop searching for stuff, they’ll find another search engine, likely one that doesn’t work as well and will emit more CO2, no?

  2. Scott Wu

    Google just published a response on their official blog. I love it how they handle criticisms directly.
    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/powering-google-search.html

    The first paragraph sums it pretty nicely:
    “Not long ago, answering a query meant traveling to the reference desk of your local library. Today, search engines enable us to access immense quantities of useful information in an instant, without leaving home. Tools like email, online books and photos, and video chat all increase productivity while decreasing our reliance on car trips, pulp and paper.”

    They go on the refute the 7g of CO2 claim with numbers. All I can say is, “don’t mess with the engineers, especially if they are from Google.”

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