The Very Special People


Monday, September 21, 2009


I m a Google fan and I love to search everything I wish to find out on internet via Google but just a few days ago, I found a rather shocking fact i.e. every Google search emits 0.2g of Carbon Dioxide. There was study that took place in Harvard University by Mr. Alex Wissner-Gross and it concluded that the energy consumption levels at Google’s data centers were near to 0.7g CO2 emitted per Google search. Soon after the news came in open, Google’s officials corrected the figures to 0.2g emission per search by posting it on their official blog. The post also said that each server spends a few thousandths of a second processing queries, using 0.0003 kWh of energy - the amount that each person's body burns in ten seconds - in the process.

This news has given me a feeling of self guilt because I m a regular Google user and search minimum ten times per day on it that means 0.2x10= 2g CO2 emission. Now on thinking a bit more, I realize there are thousands of users daily searching something on Google and that too multiple times so this number is going to be a devastating one in terms of total CO2 emission. Since, I m not at all anti-Google guy I m not trying to criticize Google or anybody else here but what I m trying to present is a fact that is so alarming and unknowingly, we are involved in CO2 emissions and playing our part in Global Warming.

Now taking the mathematics of search engines to a next level, we have Yahoo, Bing, AOL, MSN, ASK, and many other small and big search engines available today on the internet but the million dollar question is exactly how many search engines are there? Going by the facts, it’s very clear that other than the major search engines, which I named above, rest all just share near to 10% of the total pie chart. But again the trick is how you are doing your calculations because other than our major search engines we have hundreds of thousands of search engines, which are part of the single website and let me remind you all those search engines are also the part of our so called internet data, which is being stored at data centers, and they play a major role when you query something on the website because that consumes energy and emits CO2.

Now let’s just analyze the information I gave you above. Imagine the number of websites we have on the internet today. Let’s just imagine that how much data could be there on the internet today? Can you imagine that, I know you do but you might be just amazed the same way as I was on observing such staggering numbers. Ok, we all use Emails and we have lots n lots of them, isn’t it? So, you ever thought where all that data is getting stored, well the answer is simple it’s being stored in those data centers only and that too plays a part in CO2 emission.

I know we cannot stop using the internet or we just cannot go back in old age, which would be like taking the internet revolution back, but what is required are the ideas in these fields. We should try and find out answers to all Data Centers emissions and make the green technology revolution a big one. It’s really important that we join the green IT club better sooner than later otherwise, the consequence could be worse and our technology might end up being our biggest curse.


Anonymous said...

Think how much carbon dioxide would be emitted if instead of googling a thing you'd drive with a car to the nearest library, which needs to be lighted and, depending on where in world you are, either heated or air-conditioned. Btw, air-conditioning is really energy-consumptive, and with the global warning rising together with people's insistence of comfort it's only going to increase.

Back to the library. There you'd search through volumes of books made of paper which is produced by cutting forests that are the main lungs of the planet turning carbon dioxide back into oxygene. Then you'd make several phonecalls around, using more electricity. Anyway, thanks for your always interesting postings.

Post a Comment