Monday, 12 Jan, 2009 Environment

Two Google Searches Emit as Much CO2 as Boiling a Kettle


According to researchers from the United States, performing two searches on number one search engine, Google, can produce the same mount of CO2 as boiling a kettle. They found that one search generates around 7 grams of carbon dioxide, while boiling a kettle produces about 15 grams.

When a search is made, several Google servers that can be located miles apart, compete to return the search results in the quickest time.

"Their primary concern is to make searches fast and that means they have a lot of extra capacity that burns energy," says Alex Wissner-Gross, a physicist from Harvard University, adding that the accuracy and the speed of Google are those that produce a large amount of CO2 due to the energy and electricity used to bring the results.

The California-based company owns around 450,000 servers worldwide, these processing the demand of over 200 million daily search inquiries. The infrastructure of Google transmits information from the server that produces the search result quicker.

Alex Wissner-Gross made a research on Google's influence on the environment. "Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power," he says. According to the physicist, the data centers are very efficient; however, their main goal is to perform quick searches, which leads to the use of a lot of energy.

According to Google officials, the company tries to take effective steps towards lowering the emission of carbon dioxide. Nonetheless Google has never presented any information on energy it spends or CO2 the company emits. "We are among the most efficient of all internet search providers," said a spokesman for the company.

Another analysis was carried out by John Buckley, working on the website called , a British environmental site. It states that the emissions of carbon dioxide produced by one search ranges between 1g and 10g. It is the first time that scientists show the impact of computers and Internet use on the environment.

The data presented by Garnet, a US research company, the use of IT worldwide today causes around 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The emissions of CO2, produced by computer use today, outrun that of aviation industry. It is worth mentioning that last year the profits of number one search engine rose to about $6 billion, making Google one of the most popular brands in the world.

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