Google Observes Earth Hour, Gets Energy Issue Backward

Black Israeli homepage bad

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Google could have promoted energy conservation by lighting up gigantic "save electricity" billboards.  Instead, in at least one country, the search giant has taken the equally unproductive path of turning its homepage black.

Black Israel Google Page
 Black Google Israel

This would have been okay in the past; old CRT monitors use up more energy when displaying white space than black.  But when LCDs are involved, the reverse is true, and flat screens dominate most markets.  This should be no less the case in Israel, which has (at least) as many tech goodies as the U.S.

So it’s in Israel that Google made its mistake of supporting Earth Hour with a black homepage.  America’s Earth Hour is scheduled to start this Friday at 8 PM (according to everyone’s local time); it should be interesting to see if Google.com goes dark in preparation.

As Loren Baker notes, Google’s put on a black screen at least once before in a nod to Lights Out San Francisco.  Other mildly silly environmental gestures have also been made, but those tended to be goofy in the "drop in a bucket" sense, not this counterproductive one.

We’ve not yet heard about any marches on Mountain View, but the Earth Hour development has to be at least mildly frustrating to some people, and should embarrass Google, too.

Google Observes Earth Hour, Gets Energy Issue Backward
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  • Jason London UK

    You’ve missed the whole point.

    The screen could have been blue, red, green or whatever colour you like – the immediate conservation of energy is not the point of the exercise. I’m reading this article because of the google stunt – so mission accomplished to me and millions of others who will no doubt do the same and be made aware of Earth Day.

    Perhaps what comes from this will save energy in the future as people are encouraged to change attitudes.


  • Bren

    Turning the lights off is a symbolic one. I’m also here because I was looking for google "going dark" in support of Earth Hour. Tonight is about public awareness and support regarding global climate change, NOT saving a few milli-nothings worh of monitor power depending on what colour the page is.

    If you want to go nitty-gritty and talk about colour vs monitor consumption, the site Blackle as been down that path already.

  • Guest

    If you click the "Earth Hour" link on google.com, it goes to a page that explains:

    "As to why we don’t do this permanently – it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display."

    The point is to raise awareness for the upcoming Earth Hour on Friday, not save energy by changing the color of the homepage.

  • http://www.kannada-greetings.com Kannada greetings

    I did switch off lot of lights. Message did reach out to the masses.  :)

  • Guest


  • http://buildecommercesite.blogspot.com/ An Ecommerce Learner

    Google did not claim that a black screen saved energy.  In fact, they wrote that it did not save energy.  They used a black screen was only used to promote turning out lights.

  • Guest

    Environmentally consciousness is great, but 1 hour of lights off is not going to help (much).

    The black Google homepage is more distracting than anything when I trying to find some information. Luckily, I could use the Firefox search bar to quickly find what I needed.

  • Jessica

    Doug shouldn’t be called an idiot just because he wrote a blog that might be in fact, TRUE.
    People shouldn’t be criticized when taking an effort to help the ONLY planet we get to live on!
    most things created have function and meaning.
    I had no idea or else my myspace wouldn’t have been all black most of its days.

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