Wrong by a factor of 35

Sorry Google: In 2007, I guestimated the carbon dioxide emission of one Google search to be roughly 7 grams. That number was never intended to frighten people from doing internet searches, because I always assumed that Google would implement Search as efficient as possible. Just think of the advantage you get when you do search 10% more efficient than your competitors while doing billions of searches.

After the Sunday Times had published last week that Alex Wissner-Gross estimates the same number Google now officially has answered.
I was wrong. Very wrong. Wrong by a factor of 35. Wrong even when you take into account that Moore's Law and Google engineers had 20 months to increase efficiency since my first guestimate.

So now we have it: One Google Search produces as much CO2 as 10 seconds of breathing!

Update: Could be that the Sunday Times directly took my number (after generating 0.2 grams of CO2 and finding this blog with a Google search) and connected it to other work done by Alex Wissner-Gross. Funny how an innocent number can make big news 20 months later!
At least I got my 2 seconds of fame on Techcrunch: "This obscure blog post" ... "Rolf Kersten’s Weblog (who?)" Cheers!
Kommentare:

Hi Rolf,
the whole Times story seems to be a piece of "journalistic artwork": Alex Wissner-Gross did not measure Google's impact, he measured a average visit of any webpage (http://www.technewsworld.com/story/Harvard-Prof-Sets-Record-Straight-on-Internet-Carbon-Study-65794.html).
It's the Times who did the assumption, that Google is an average webpage.
Google's official answer is not very useful. Google simply states "we use 0.0003kWh per search." Very impressiv, but their answer did not include any facts about how many servers they are running, how many requerst they are answering per second, how many pages they crawl with how many crawlers per second and so on.
Your calculation was documented and comprehensible. Googles answer is just a number falling from the sky.

Gesendet von Jan Brosowski am Januar 13, 2009 at 02:01 AM MEZ #

Looks like the similarity was no coincidence. http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/12/revealed-the-times-made-up-that-stuff-about-google-and-the-tea-kettles/

Gesendet von bigplanet am Januar 14, 2009 at 12:26 AM MEZ #

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