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Google defends search energy use after newspaper claims

Antony Savvas

Google has jumped to defend the energy efficiency of its search service, after The Times newspaper claimed a single Google search used half the equivalent energy of boiling a kettle of water.

The paper used research from a Harvard University scientist who reported on general web energy use. But Google said it should not have been singled out by the paper and claims the energy use generated by its searches was well below that described by the paper.

Google said in a blog, "As computers become a bigger part of more people's lives, information technology consumes an increasing amount of energy, and Google takes this impact seriously. That is why we have designed and built the most energy efficient datacentres in the world, which means the energy used per Google search is minimal.

"In fact, in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than Google uses to answer your query."

Specifically responding to the The Times report, Google said, "Recently, though, others have used much higher estimates, claiming that a typical search uses 'half the energy as boiling a kettle of water' and produces 7 grams of CO2.

"This number is many times too high. In terms of greenhouse gases, one Google search is equivalent to about 0.2 grams of CO2."


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