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…