All entries for Friday 16 January 2009

January 16, 2009

Searching on Google about as damaging to planet as farting

Writing about web page http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jan/16/carbon-sunday-times-google-clarification

Last week’s Sunday Times ran a prominent story explaining how two “typical” Google searches use produce as much CO2 as boiling a kettle, due to their enormous (and secretive) data centres.

But now, according to The Guardian, it seems that’s not entirely accurate.

The figure for each individual search is actually closer to a whopping 0.2g

Which is… er… not very much.

Here’s the clarification on the Times website:

A report about online energy consumption (Google and you’ll damage the planet, Jan 11) said that “performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle” or about 7g of CO2 per search. We are happy to make clear that this does not refer to a one-hit Google search taking less than a second, which Google says produces about 0.2g of CO2, a figure we accept. In the article, we were referring to a Google search that may involve several attempts to find the object being sought and that may last for several minutes. Various experts put forward carbon emission estimates for such a search of 1g-10g depending on the time involved and the equipment used. (emphasis mine)

How many times has Google taken two minutes to answer one of your searches?

And here’s the top two paragraphs of the original story:

Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

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.” (emphasis mine)

According to The Guardian, the Times is sticking by its story. Hmm…


Possibly the coolest invention since the gramophone*

My advice to you if you own shares in Apple:

Sell, Sell, Sell.

No, not because Steve Jobs is stepping back from running the company for a while (I reckon it’s permanent, myself).

But because iTunes’ business model is about to be trounced by the Swedes.

I’m a little behind the curve here, but Spotify is quite simply brilliant.

It’s the kind of invention that only requires around twenty seconds to appreciate, which is a strong indication of its simple genius.

Imagine your hard-drive being linked to the catalogues of the major record companies. And you’ve got free access to all of it. Yep, free. You can stream as much music as you want, and the only down-side is the short advert every 30mins or so.

Oh, did I say it’s free?

So you can’t download the music to your MP3 player… yet.

But this bit of software is so cool, you won’t care.

Hilariously, the Americans can’t get their hands on it yet without being nice to people or handing over some cash.

We Brits on the other hand just need to click here.

Hat-tip: Matt

* P.S. I might be exaggerating a little


Slumming it with the best

This piece might come in handy if you’re thinking of placing a sneaky fiver on the winner of the Academy Awards this year.

Slumdog Millionaire looks like it’s going to sweep all the big awards. BAFTA will almost certainly go for it (Frost/Nixon a likely second-place). The Golden Globes have already bestowed their stardust on the film.

Now it’s down to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. And according to the New York Times’ film blog, it’s running away with it.


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