Google Circles Back To CO2/Tea Issue

    May 12, 2009

Four months ago, a report claimed that the act of performing two Google searches produced as much carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle of water.  Google wasted little time in disproving the idea.  Now, the search giant’s returned to the concept and tossed out even more comparisons to show how "green" it is.

Urs Holzle, who’s a Google Fellow and the company’s senior vice president of operations, provided the following table in a post on the Official Google Blog.  Some fairly striking numbers can be seen at the bottom of it.  The top isn’t quite so interesting, but does contain a bit of a jab at the newspaper industry.

Google CO2

Holzle also wrote, "We work hard to provide our users with the fastest products using the least amount of energy.  We have a team of dedicated engineers focused on designing and building the most efficient data centers in the world.  In fact, through efficiency innovations, we have managed to cut energy usage in our data centers by over 50 percent, so we’re using less than half the energy to run our data centers as the industry average."

He then concluded, "This efficiency means that in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will likely use more energy than we will use to answer your query."

So it would seem that Google’s in the clear as far as concerns over energy usage and CO2 generation go.  Google and Holzle may even receive extra applause from environmentalists for committing to more increases in efficiency.