Google searches may have environmental impact

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Are we accelerating the earth's decine with each google search we enter online? In a Jan. 11 Times of London article, physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, a graduate of MIT and Harvard, posited that a single Google search generates 7 grams of CO2, versus 15 grams from a teakettle, in what he noted as a “definite environmental impact.” TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid (“Are We Killing the Planet One Google Search at a Time?” published online by TechCrunch), puts the argument into perspective by suggesting that a book garners 2,500 grams of CO2 (more than 350 times a Google search), while a cheeseburger has an estimated carbon footprint of 3,600 grams (more than 500 times greater). “[The] issue with the article isn't that it is factually incorrect, it's that it paints Google as a malevolent force shrouded in secrecy and that, every time you use it, you're adding to the problem,” Kincaid said. “It's alarmist.” Wissner-Gross also co-founded a start-up Web site last year called CO2Stats, which helps other sites optimize “eco-friendly” standards by offering carbon credits and badges to promote the cause. The Times merely referenced the site. Google later released a blog posting, countering that a single search is actually equivalent to0.2 grams of CO2, while also detailing the company's efforts to further green technology and the energy efficiency of its data centers.
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