California houses. All well and good.
ERIC LUNDQUIST: UP FRONT Google is the loudest of the high-
tech companies to jump on the
Google’s mixed message green bandwagon. But wait a min-
ute. Isn’t this the company that has
built a huge search engine business
by cobbling together at least 1 mil-
ECO-GOODNESS INTERMINGLES WITH POWER CONSUMPTION lion (and counting) low-end servers?
And, in addition to its Mountain
Yes! a google- A123Systems to build a small fleet View campus, is building huge
mobile. And of plug-in hybrids, adding an exter- server complexes in Oklahoma,
why not? Now nal plug and additional batteries North Carolina and Oregon to be
that Google has to a regular hybrid car so that it near cheap power?
rolled over Micro- runs on electricity with gasoline How much power does Google
soft in creating (or even better, biofuels) to extend actually use to enable us to search
online applications the driving range for longer trips,” for vital information about Paris
and has battered the Gorg blog states before add- Hilton or box-office receipts for
Yahoo into putting ing some breathless prose about “The Fantastic Four: Rise of the
its CEO, Terry Semel, out to pasture biofuels, solar panels and general Silver Surfer”? Figure that each
while bringing back co-founder Jerry eco-goodness. server consumes about $200 per
Yang, why not show that Google Now, back to Google’s other year in electricity costs. (I’m not
doesn’t need to wait for Detroit to eco-goodness. Earlier this month, even counting cooling costs.) Why
catch up in the automobile race? Why Google, Intel and a bunch of PC doesn’t Google break out in its SEC
not just build its own Googlemobile? companies unveiled the Climate reports what it spends on electricity
A nifty plug-in hybrid car, new plans Savers Computing Initiative, which to keep all those servers running?
for power supplies and green PCs, aims to correct a host of legacy PC Because it doesn’t have to report
and solar panels wherever there is a design choices that, while good at those costs, and, if it did, all that
square foot of roof space must make boosting computing power, were talk about hybrid cars, solar panels
Google about the most energy- boneheaded in wasting electrical and power supplies would look
conscious company around, right? power. “Believe it or not, the aver- very shallow against the big power
I’m not so sure age desktop PC consumption number. Come on,
about that, but let WHY DOESN’T GOOGLE SAY wastes nearly Google, fess up. ´
me back up (figu- IN ITS SEC REPORTS WHAT half the power atively) a bit. delivered to Editorial Director Eric Lundquist can be
First, let’s try IT SPENDS ON ELECTRICITY? it. Half! This reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
to get a fix on all wasted electric-
those Google entities. Google.org is ity unnecessarily increases the cost WWEB RESOURCES
the philanthropic arm of the Google of powering a computer, and it also mother ship, with about $1 billion increases the emission of green- Power saving
in startup funding from company house gases,” the Climate Savers The Climate Savers Computing
founders Larry Page and Sergey group says on its home page. Initiative www.
Brin. One of the first efforts by In fact, I’d guess the average PC climatesaverscomputing.
Google.org—let’s just call it Gorg for wastes more than half the power org
short—is a hybrid electric car that reaching the system, and by the time recharges itself using power pro- you add up wasted heat in the sys- Plug-in hybrids
duced by solar panels. You can read tem and at the component level, the The Google hybrid automobile
all about it at googleblog.blogspot. amount of juice actually devoted to
com/2007/06/clean-energy-update. computations is dismally small. b/a/ 256803.htm
html. If you think of a typical hybrid And finally, we have the Google-with an outside plug and extra bat- plex itself. In October, Google in
teries for using stored electricity as its blog announced it is converting
the primary power source, you have its Mountain View, Calif., campus
the basic idea. to use solar power. The company
“We’ve been working with intends to install solar panels that
Google office and server farm