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The environmental impact of Google searches
encyclo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 1:56 pm on Jan 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searches [technology.timesonline.co.uk]
Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2. Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. "Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power," said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. "A Google search has a definite environmental impact."

 

BillyS

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 2:59 am on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I drive my car a lot less now that the Internet is here. I shop from home whereas before I'd need to drive from store to store.

skipfactor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 4:19 am on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Harvard Physicist Sets Record Straight on Internet Carbon Study" [technewsworld.com]

One problem: the study's author, Harvard University physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, says he never mentions Google in the study. "For some reason, in their story on the study, the Times had an ax to grind with Google," Wissner-Gross told TechNewsWorld. "Our work has nothing to do with Google. Our focus was exclusively on the Web overall, and we found that it takes on average about 20 milligrams of CO2 per second to visit a Web site."

And the example involving tea kettles? "They did that. I have no idea where they got those statistics," Wissner-Gross said.


jcmiras

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 4:49 am on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yeah, that is non-sense. Almost all of our activities involve deterioration of the environment. Just think about the amount of Co2 that you exhaled while reading this.

Jonathan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 5:29 am on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

[technewsworld.com...]


One problem: the study's author, Harvard University physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, says he never mentions Google in the study. "For some reason, in their story on the study, the Times had an ax to grind with Google," Wissner-Gross told TechNewsWorld. "Our work has nothing to do with Google. Our focus was exclusively on the Web overall, and we found that it takes on average about 20 milligrams of CO2 per second to visit a Web site."

And the example involving tea kettles? "They did that. I have no idea where they got those statistics," Wissner-Gross said.


lokesh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 9:12 am on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Every things have advantages and disadvantages but why people more crawl on Google. We should also consider rest all things for our environment betterment.
Why not we avoid tea?

DilipShaw

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 9:46 am on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

An environmentalist point of view:

"Donít search Google Ė You may help generate CO2 which is not good for environment."

;)

Ö Seriously though what a marketing strategy! I mean we do so many things in life that generate a lot of CO2Ö like boiling tea as the author says. He himself drinks tea, isnít he?

How many of us knew Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross before this?

frontpage

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 12:51 pm on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

The hysteria over Google and CO2 is crazy. Human produced CO2 has nothing to with global warming, if anything we are headed to a cooling trend not a heating trend. Example: Spinning ice disc phenomenon seen in British river for first time.
A rare phenomenon normally associated with Scandinavia has been recorded on the River Otter in Devon for what could be the first time.

[telegraph.co.uk...]

brotherhood of LAN

WebmasterWorld Administrator brotherhood_of_lan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 1:24 pm on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm glad the numbers were made up, I found it hard to believe that a search was the equivalent of boiling a kettle.

However, the propensity to "just google it" when you have wonder about something is definitely there. If I'm talking to someone about a film and can't remember who starred in it or its release year then a few keystrokes later I will.

That user behaviour isn't exclusive to Google usage though. (though I may have found IMDB through Google)

Besides, the environmental impact of mistrust.. information arbitrage and anti-information arbitrage must surely be a bigger 'wastage' of productivity and conservation of energy if there ever was one. Perhaps those with duplicate content have no room to talk either. Kidding aside, cuil.com seems to have spent a lot of time spidering the web with 'little return' for its users to date.

Most of the time when I hit google I find what I'm looking for.

Munster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 3:18 pm on Jan 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

<RANT>
I wonder if he worked out how many grams of CO2 his research 'generated' while he was in his lab on his computer, drinking cups of coffee then driving home in his Canyonaro then lighting the fire and burning some old tyres in the back yard.....ok ok I'm exaggerating a little but I think 'research' papers like this are just publicity stunts, did he mention how juch CO2 he has created just by breathing his whole life.....are we to breath less now?

Why not spend his energy working on a solution rather than pointing out the obvious, honestly my 5 year old niece could tell you that by using electricity generated by using fossil fuels creates CO2, we all do, we even know what the solution is, but certain oil barons don't like the solution. can anyone tell me why in an age where we can turn sunlight, wind and the tides into electricity why we still need to burn fossil fuels to produce it. Is it because the technology isn't available yet.......nope, is it because oil companies couldn't sell their oil any more........

Honestly we hear so much about Hydrogen (the most abundant element in the universe) being the fuel of the future and now shell and honda have found a way to make it as expensive as petrol " this car runs on Hydrogen, it does the same amount of miles on one fill up and costs about the same".....Aaaagh it makes me sick!

</RANT>

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 1:54 pm on Jan 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

<RANT REBUTTAL/>
'research' papers like this are just publicity stunts
Er, yes. That's rather the point. Research needs money. Publicity gets money. Wild claims get publicity.

Don't confuse the headline with the point of the paper. Useful knowledge came out of the study (I imagine- it was certainly meant to), but its just a bit too dull to make it to these illustious boards.

Renewables (possibly excepting nuclear) are too unreliable to fuel a country. Wind drops. Clouds exist. Tide... er, moon goes on holiday sometimes? Ok, tide is good in non-landlocked areas with good tidal variation.

Hydrogen. Abundant in the universe, yes. In the world, not so much. Yes, its in water. However, in the hypothetical situation of a 100% efficient extraction process, it would be precisely pointless to extract hydrogen from water, just to burn it to create... water.

You can get hydrogen in other ways (and you can use solar to passively split water, I seem to recall), so as a commodity I can see the agument for it being reasonably cheap. However, the process of extracting, purifying, pressurising/liquidfying and delivering all cost money. Its analogous to people who offer 'free' shipping. They build it into the price. Same here.

That said, the cost will come down as the production process scales up and efficiency improves. However, the promise of hydrogen is not the cost- its the fact that it will never run out. Even if its Earthy abundance is low relative to the universe, its high relative to petrolium.

Final word on Hydroden- its pretty explosive. Much more so than petrol. And reactive, too. So, safety is going to have to be carefully considered.

oasisfan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3823919 posted 12:21 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

What rubbish.

I reckon I have saved several 10's of tanks of petrol with search engine searches eg

I can shop online rather than drive to the shops.

I can find an article online rather than drive to the library

I can search for a video meeting application that will save me flying to meet a client.

OK these examples are laboured but imagine everyone from your teenager, to house wife to business man searching and all the energy saved which could have been spent if all this information wasn't instantly available.

Sorry this environmental debate is very very flawed-ok that's another debate.

I have seen a lot of discussion about sub sea volcanic activity in the norhern hemisphere causing the sea temperature to rise and hence melt the artic ice- which could explain why the Antartic ice is not dissapearing. Atmospheric heating would melt both ice caps. Scientists get research grants to research things in vogue and many are paid to further one cause or another. A massive amount of funding is going into the Global warming INDUSTRY. Not sayiing this theory is any better than the rest but we shouldn't blindly accept all that is thrown at us.

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