In the news today, a report exposes Google’s contribution to Greenhouse gas CO2. Research by Harvard university is indicating that the IT Industry contributes as much to Greenhouse gases as the airline industry, with Google being a major contributor.
Apparently the main (but not only) problem lies in the data centres that Google runs, which use up massive amounts of energy in keeping and retrieving all the data that we want. Not only that, but because of Google (and our) desire for speed, they have a lot of spare capacity to ensure the quickness of delivery, which causes even more damage.
Scientists say that these data centres are some of the most energy intensive facilities imaginable. Apparently, two searches on Google, when considering the worldwide impact of data centres, uses the same amount of power as boiling the kettle. There are estimated to be over 200 million searches undertaken a day, so you start to see why these scientists get so concerned.
While Google is quite secretive about their actual carbon footprint, they do go so far to say that they are the most environmentally friendly search engine around. This exposure can only serve to increase scrutiny of their practices, and hopefully, seeing as they are one of the most innovative companies in the world, they will make energy conservation a priority in their operations.
While it came as a big surprise to me, it is easy to understand how it is true that searching and IT is using so much energy. Now that it has been brought to everyones attention, I hope this will mean people reigning in over-use and Search Engines devoting some of their massive budgets to developing environmentally friendly technology.