Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How Much Electricity Does Google Use?

If you're like me, Google is usually your first stop when looking for information. Google also manages my email, calendars, contacts, and RSS feeds. Keeping these services running requires a lot of computing power and electricity usage. When thinking about how many server farms, data centers, routers, switches, cooling systems, etc... are required to keep all of this running, it becomes apparent that this is very energy intensive.

No one knows for sure just how much electricity Google uses to run its operations, but people speculate nonetheless. I found a blog post that tried to quantify just how much electricity Google consumes and how much CO2 this translates to. From the blog post, it looks like Google receives its electricity from nuclear and hydro plants, but still consumes more than most countries!

Interesting read. Check out the post here for more info.

3 comments:

Ideamotor said...

What I find interesting is how secret Google appears to be in regards to its electricity usage. At the same time they are developing a tool that will be free to utilities and end-users that tracks and organizes energy consumption information.

On their Website they explain their business model "We're creating this tool to provide energy information to consumers and are committed to building and maintaining an open platform."

Another recent development are rumors suggesting that Google may be added to the DJIA. Meanwhile, Google is adopting a new method of targeting ads to you based on what sites you visit. They call it "making ads more interesting". You can search for that on Google.

Rohit said...

Here's an interesting link -
http://carbonneutralsearch.blogspot.com/2007/10/about.html

Its a very interesting concept where they try to offset the carbon footprint of each of your searches. I just checked the official website http://www.carbonneutralsearch.co.uk just now but its no longer hosted.

Another experiment is http://www.blackle.com/
The concept here is that the computer monitors use maximum electricity to project the WHITE color and the least for BLACK. Considering the popularity of Google, these guys created an engine that's a black version of google. It uses the same google search engine at the back end, just the color is black!

Ideamotor said...

Blackle is great in that it gets people thinking about energy consumption.

However I think it's nuts. As far I understand screens, it may do a bit of something for CRTs but may actually increase your energy usage for LCDs. Regardless, any effect on monitor energy consumption is very small. Also, you are going through additional servers to do a Google search through Blackle (and additional layers of possible privacy encroachment).