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Could Google Searches be Killing Us?

Are you concerned about your carbon footprint? According to new research reported in the Sunday Times, you may be harming the environment just by doing a Google search for your favorite band.

Among other things, the article makes the claim that "Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the
same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea." The article goes on to state that all web surfing has environmental consequences, but that Google in particular generates high amounts of CO2 due to its transmission of information to multiple competing servers.

According to Google, however, the Harvard study is deeply flawed and severely overestimates the amount of CO2 generated by a search query. Urs Hölzle, Google's senior vice president of operations, stated that the average CO2 emission for a search is 0.2 grams, and not the 7 grams reported in the Harvard study. Since the study was first published Google's position has been supported by publications like TechCrunch.  

The controversy has caused a lot of eco-conscious web surfers to think twice before using Google to find what they're looking for. Has it affected your online searching habits?



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