Posted September 9, 2011 9:19 am by with 2 comments

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This post falls into the category of “things that you never really think about but when you do you scratch your head and wonder a bit”. We don’t have an actual category like that here at Marketing Pilgrim due to character limits and other more sensible reasons.

The New York Times is reporting about Google’s electric usage and here’s what they tell us

Google disclosed Thursday that it continuously uses enough electricity to power 200,000 homes, but it says that in doing so, it also makes the planet greener.

Every time a person runs a Google search, watches a YouTube video or sends a message through Gmail, the company’s data centers full of computers use electricity. Those data centers around the world continuously draw almost 260 million watts — about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant.

So why is this important? Mainly because it is an area where the green berets – those who think that we should be living in log cabins and using candles so as to protect the planet – like to assault Google. It must be working if Google has decied to go public with its defense.

While the electricity figures may seem large, the company asserts that the world is a greener place because people use less energy as a result of the billions of operations carried out in Google data centers. Google says people should consider things like the amount of gasoline saved when someone conducts a Google search rather than, say, drives to the library. “They look big in the small context,” Urs Hoelzle, Google’s senior vice president for technical infrastructure, said in an interview.

That defense seems to work on some levels. Of course this new openness by Google about its power usage brings out more detractors who claim that Google’s eco-footprint goes much deeper and wider.

So again why is this even important? Take a look at this quote

The announcement is likely to spur further competition in an industry where every company is already striving to appear “greener” than the next, said Dennis Symanski, a senior data center project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit organization. At professional conferences on the topic, Mr. Symanski said, “they’re all clamoring to get on the podium to claim that they have the most efficient data center.”

Oh, ok, now I get it. It’s not about the planet. It’s about the PR. Now everything makes perfect sense.

  • Every marketing company should have a good spin doctor – that’s for sure. And it seems from the quotes here it seems that is exactly what they have. Someone must have done some snooping around their files for that information. Good investigative work on NYT part, but do the world really need to know that? Probably is the Bigger scheme of things.

  • I can’t imaging how much is Google paying for their electric bills. The company is a monster!