Its never too late to appreciate something good, really really good. Google has gone green. So green that it has a huge impact on mining in Chile and China. No sarcasm here.
Google Instant. An amazing technology that was recently launched will make the world a better place. Not many people know that Google, one of the largest software companies in the world spends its 35% of revenue in hardware. Yes, not joking! They have one of the world’s largest network of computers, and they need that to store everything that is happening in the online world including this blog. Imagine the number of movies one can your laptop store and multiply that by a billion to get an approximate volume of data that needs to be stored, processed, indexed, and delivered worldwide, round the clock. So, this means that for every dollar that you spend on advertising, Google spends 35 cents on building computer and network to sustain and grow its data.
Every search that a user does costs Google a lot of money. Imagine a user searches for the word ‘soccer’, this word is sent to Google server which is a huge network of computers that is hungry for power, and that power might come from a grid based out of say mid-west, which transmits only 30% of generated power 2000 miles away in California, wasting the rest 70% as heat loss. The grid gets the coal from Chile or China, where thousands of people dig for years burning more fuel to get fuel. On a totally different issue it takes a kilo of fuel to get 3 kilos of fuel. Google makes $30 billion in revenue, and spends $10 billion on hardware alone. If my $1,000 laptop sucks 25 watts/hr, that is a total of ~200 kW a year, we can extrapolate that Google sucks 2 billion watt per year. If every kW emits one gram of Carbon footprint to atmosphere, world gets 2000 kg of carbon footprint. Google has about 12-15% share of online traffic and revenue, means a whopping 2 million kg of Carbon is emitted due to Google.
So, where is green coming into picture here? Well, a typical end-user does not know what she is searching for. She starts with the closet keywords sometimes with approximate spelling and first few searches is only to get the right key words. And then she does more searches to get the exact data. So typically what she could have searched in 3-4 searches is now able to search in 1 search. Or for an average user even when she knows what she needs to search, the savings is close to 20%. That is a huge savings of 400,000 kg of carbon translating to a savings of petty $1.5 billion. So if you ever wondered why Google introduced Google Instant even without you asking, its for their higher margins.