Weighty searches

Billions of Google searches may seem to be evanescent, ephemeral, electronic abstractions but this article suggests that they leave a weighty, grimy residue. The company’s electrical consumption (mostly the data centers) is said to create a carbon footprint of one million five hundred thousand tons in a single year. That is possibly much less than the footprint left by the car/bus trips and phone calls that have been made unnecessary by web searches. But it does suggest that search engines that will be better (i.e provide the sought for answer in fewer searches) will also be greener, even without more efficient computational hardware.

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