The Environmental Impact of Googling



I've always wondered: is Google a burden to the environment? Think about it, Google is an Internet services company. In order to provide us with accurate search results, amazing email, social entertainment and networking they need computers. Many, many, many computers (aka servers) that are powered on 24/7! Then comes the actual building housing these servers, Google have many around the world (here are a few "official" ones) that require not only power for servers, but for cooling, lighting, staff work etc… So every time you use some Google service (or any other service for that matter) your carbon footprint is actually a bit bigger. There is even a market for green search engines: Gigablast (green power) and Blackle (black background = lower energy) to name a few.

Like any other ethical company, especially one as large as Google, they have to run their stuff efficiently and in an energy conscience manner. If you think about it, being green does not only save the environment but also money, and money = more profits.

As a result, Google have decided to share some information about how they continue to provide great services without impacting negatively on the environment through Google Green. On the front page they state some interesting facts: they have ELIMINATED their environmental impact since 2007, their datacenters use 50% less energy, they've invested almost $1b in renewable energy and the most interesting: the impact of a business using Gmail is 80 times less than not using Gmail.


 

The most interesting page is the "The Big Picture" page. Did you know that the average annual carbon footprint of a Google user is only 1.46 kg of CO2? Or what about 3 days of YouTube is the same as making and delivering a DVD? Oh and you know when you threw a message in a bottle! That's about a year of Gmail (so use Gmail, its quicker and more efficient than that bottle 😉 )!

You will find much more interesting information about Google's greenness in the rest of the Google Green site. I will sure be less guilty sending an email or watching Keyboard Cat.


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