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…


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Mike Willis

    The whole story seems to be mired in conflicting stories. The guy who the Times has said ”...the widely circulated 7 gram/search figure came from some other source…”
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/12/revealed-the-times-made-up-that-stuff-about-google-and-the-tea-kettles/

    Any quoted figure are nothing but vague guestimates anyway. If I say a Google search creates 0.3142g of C02 then it’s as valid a figure as any other quoted. Last I heard no one except Google knows how many servers Google actually own or exactly how they process a search request. I doubt Google could calculate an accurate figure even if they could be bothered to try.

    18 Jan 2009, 11:08


Add a comment

You are not allowed to comment on this entry as it has restricted commenting permissions.

Twitter Go to 'Twitter / chrisdoidge'

Tetbury Online

Most recent comments

  • To quote from PM Cameron's speech at Munich Security Conference on the failure of State Multicultura… by on this entry
  • Not sure whether their installation can do that (though I assume it will), but I personally have a D… by Pierre on this entry
  • Yup. The figure at the end I guess isn't so much a sign of falling standards, as failing policy. by on this entry
  • Didn't the compulsory GCSE in a language get ditched a few years back? by on this entry
  • Yeah, that was a Brown–like kiss of death. by on this entry

Search this blog

Blog archive

Loading…

Tags

January 2009

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Dec |  Today  | Feb
         1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31   
Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder
© MMXIX