Google Observes Earth Hour, Gets Energy Issue Backward

    March 27, 2008

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 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.