Google have been in the spotlight of an investigation regarding energy costs, stating that Google releases roughly as much carbon dioxide into the ozone in two Google searches, as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea. This all sounds like very little, but when you add it all up, including more than 200 million searches a day, that asks the question, how much does 'googling' hurt the environment?
The concern is not Google polluting the environment, but the increasing demand for energy that Google craves to operate its massive data centers, the energy needs to be created somewhere. For every second we stay connected to the internet, we produce 0.02g of carbon emissions, says Alex Wissner, a US physicist.
Google has since replied to the article, mentioning that for Google to be as fast and reliable as it is, so the need for mass data centers is required to beat competitors on the internet. To help break the numbers down, a typical Google search will last 0.2 seconds, the query is sent to and processed by the servers with just a few thousandths of a second. Google claims its servers only use 0.0003 (1 kJ) kWh per search, while the average adult needs 8000 kJ a day of energy from food.
One Google search in terms of greenhouse gases (CO2), releases roughly 0.2 grams into the ozone, while the standard EU for tailpipe emissions allows up to 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer. The average car doesn't reach these levels, giving off roughly 0.6 grams per kilometer driven produces as much greenhouse gases as a thousand Google searches.
In 2008, Google invested $45 million in breakthrough clean energy technologies, and in 2007, co-founded the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a group that is dedicated to cutting computer energy costs in half by 2010, reducing CO2 emissions by 54 million tons per year.