Google's Environmental Footprint

Dr Alex Wissner-Gross, a physicist from Harvard University, has revealed that using Google can increase your enviromental footprint. Websites have real-world environmental footprints. Their files are stored on servers, viewed by personal computers, and connected via networks. To operate these components, all of which are necessary to create a complete website experience, electricity must be consumed. And to generate much of that electricity, fossil fuels like coal and natural gas are usually being burned. The Harvard professor has estimated that each Google search generates an estimated 5-10 g of CO2, in part because Google's unique infrastructure replicates queries across multiple servers, which then compete to provide the fastest answer to your query. On the other hand, just browsing a basic website generates about 20 mg of CO2 for every second you view it. Since millions of people are surfing the web every hour of every day, that carbon footprint adds up to an astounding 2% of international emissions each year. In fact, according to the American research firm Gartner, the carbon footprint of information and communications technology exceeded that of the global aviation industry for the first time in 2007. More information on this can be found on a facinating Times article by clicking here!


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