31
August
2008

Ecological impact of data 21:05 on Sunday

If Google is the largest consumer of electricity in the world, and Google’s business is all about massaging information, there must be an ecological impact for information. Maybe information is a bit of an overstatement, let’s say data instead. Some data has information value, some doesn’t as it is, and some data is plain useless. Think of the ecological impact of spam. Think of all the electricity and IT resources required to move spam around the internet and to filter it and to fight it.

In ecological sense, the worst kind of spam is the kind that takes the most bandwidth to transfer. Maybe you could even talk about a bandwidth-to-information ratio to calculate how green a piece of data is. I’ve seen too many videos lately (namely on hotel and real estate sites) that promise to get you up close on a property, and you end up watching two minutes of “credits”, white text on black, encoded in bandwidth-intensive video. Or you have a video that simply animates photos you’ve already seen elsewhere on the site. Waste of bandwidth. Waste of electricity to move the bits around the net. Not green at all.


Here’s some more on the subject from a programmer’s perspective: Green programming.

3 Responses to “Ecological impact of data”

    Links from my other posts:

  1. Privacy, Google ads, and global warming — /personal
  2. Comments:

  3. Marjut Says:

    Did you also read this? http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/nt/2008/nt-2008-09-01-information-warming.htm

  4. Niko Says:

    Did not. Two posts on (almost) the same subject on (almost) the same day, what are the odds. ;)

    I have to admit I got distracted at the “grey Google would save energy” part. Wasn’t that argument blown off way back?