Why is it that when companies (even google) respond to these kinds of accusations I jut automatically cringe?

UPDATE: Google responds, claiming the Wissner-Gross estimate “is *many* times too high”: “Queries vary in degree of difficulty, but for the average query, the servers it touches each work on it for just a few thousandths of a second. Together with other work performed before your search even starts (such as building the search index) this amounts to 0.0003 kWh of energy per search, or 1 kJ … In terms of greenhouse gases, one Google search is equivalent to about 0.2 grams of CO2.”

Still, the numbers add up. Google says “the average car driven for one kilometer … produces as many greenhouse gases as a thousand Google searches.” That means that the billion searches Google is estimated to do a day are equivalent to driving a car about a million kilometers. And that doesn’t include the energy used to power the PCs of the people doing the searches, which Google says is greater than the power it uses.

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: Strip mine media.

Posted in EE