back to article Google keeps killing penguins for money

On the grand list of things that Google cares about killing penguins to save a few bucks ranks higher than making the world a greener place. Google, like so many other companies, has given Mother Earth the big squeeze in a variety of ways. Some of its buildings run on solar power. Employees ride company-provided buses to work. …

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Of course Google is only really out for a profit.

If you want to save the planet, insist on 'green' power generation, rather that banking on effeciency or abstinence. Anything less is just pissing in the wind.

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Anonymous Coward

@Martin

Exactly. And if you're insisting on green power generation, insist on nuclear power. Anything other than THAT is (for all practical purposes) just pissing in the wind - kind of like El Reg's constant whining about Google.

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Paris Hilton

Heard it all before

Being green is the latest attempt for most companies to pretend to have some sort of social conscience. Only thing that surprised me is that Google is so far behind everyone else! Some oil companies were already paying the lip service 5 years ago.

Paris, because I'm informed that she blows, and we need to be investing in wind power...

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Black Helicopters

You're supposed to use Google

Why tell us how to make our own data centers better? We're supposed to use Google. For corporate or school email. For business applications, data storage, health records, etc. The ultimate way of lowering power usage and cost (in their minds) is for all of us to rely on Google for everything. Never mind we might not want to do that. Or that the data may be private or privileged information. Or that we might not trust Google. Google is trying to move past being an enabling technology (arguably, at least, search) and trying to breed dependence. Under the banner of setting us free, of course. Ugh.

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Flame

Ashee pissiness yet again

Why should Google, or any company for that matter, give away its trade secrets?

Honda, Toyota, and all other engine manufacturers have trade secrets about the efficiency enhancing aspects of their engine designs and hybrid designs etc. Do you expect them to just publish/share those trade secrets?

If you figure out Google's power use per user then it will likely be way less than anything you are doing at home/office. Using Google to store your data will likely be far more power effective than running a NAS or server of your own.

If you really want to save power as a computer user then:

1) Shut down your computer when not using it (I've heard bitching that temperature cycling breaks computers but I don't see it. I run 5 or so computers that get shut down most nights and I often power them up at below freezing and run them above 40C. I have never had one break from doing this in over many years in the biz).

2) Don't use flashy GPUs.

3) Use a laptop rather than a desktop.

4) Get the industry to move away from power hog x86 to ARM.

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Coat

Send the Black Helicopters Now!!!

"The ultimate way of lowering power usage and cost (in their minds) is for all of us to rely on Google for everything. Never mind we might not want to do that. Or that the data may be private or privileged information."

But does google really give a shit about "Joe Bloggs" information? Google are obviously trying to reduce their carbon emissions and apparently that a good thing (saving the world and all... Maybe... Just maybe... Google couldn't give a shit about what data is stored on their servers... maybe all it cares about is the advertising which IT MAKES MONEY FROM... maybe it cares about making the word "google" universal... so when people DO get access to the interwebs they go to google... and see an ad... and click on it... and google make money...

I would trust google with my "sensitive data (oh noes!)" because quite frankly I doubt they would or could give a shit.

Coat? Yeh... mines the one with "Not paranoid" written on it

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Alien

UnderStatements ........ Spin Waiting .... in the Wings and Soaring on the Wing*

"Then again, Google might have poured serious genius into these things and have many ways to save millions of dollars and even more watts."

I think that should be at least gazillions of dollars and even more ivwatts for Control of Power. Present Current XXXX Future Potential Producing NEUKlearer Energy ....... Intellectual Property Drive aka Pure Imagination from Cleaned Gleaned Source.

* A Global Communications HQ thing ..... and a Specialised Application of ProgramMIng.

[A little something for Cowboys and Injuns to Ponder as EurAsia Stakes her Claims with Needs and Feeds.]

Heap Powerful Medicine, Man, ......Real Ju-ju.

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Linux

Do not pass on the blame.

Let me quote 'We know for a fact that folks at Microsoft and elsewhere would like to see all of the data center giants open up and share more information.'

Are you paid by Google's competitors or what?

Microsoft that you are defending or agitating for has hidden more secrets than Google even after they are flashed in public media stream and dragged to court, Microsoft still defends its position. To date, we do not know Windows Core, its architecture, and how it functions.

Please, spare Google this lethal trap by not falsely passing on the blame to Google in the name of saving penguins and mankind.

youtechno.blogspot.com

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Bad title

I was hoping to see YouTube videos of them going Canadian on hapless defenseless creatures. Yet you just talk about saving a few quid in 'leccy bills.

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Paris Hilton

The evils of Google and Microsoft

What a load of whingers some of you are. If you are not denouncing MS for making a profit then you are denouncing Google.

There is begger all wrong about making a profit. Not hat I like these corporations particularly, but had it not been for MS then most of you would not be making a good living becuase the masses would not be using computers on anywhere near the present scale. Ms produces a lot of cr@p, but they have also done a lot of good, and at least evil Bill is paying his penance now by devoting much of his life to re-investing his billions to the poor sods of this world. Even the communists of this world done give a damn about their own people.

As for Google, of course they want people to use their services. No one is compelled to, lots of other search engines, but they offer what people want and make good money doing it. If they can save millions on their bottom lines by being more energy efficient then good look to them.

If their competitors want to do the same then they have to go and talk to bl@@dy Intel or AMD and not Google! Are you completely soft in the head or what!

Now then, morning rant over, off my soap box, time to do some real work rather than read these great pages :o)

Paris, because she is not free either.

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Anonymous Coward

Verified?

Google's power savings sound about as reliable as the oil reserves of the Middle East. Unless they're independently verified what's being said about Google's energy consumption is just hearsay. If we go back a step, why is Google swallowing up so much power? Is this the energy we're using the harness the knowledge of mankind or just a quick way to find warez and pr0n? Is Google enabling us to find any information or a way to disseminate infantile videos on YouTube or store billions of spam messages in GoogleMail? Instead of just looking at what power is being consumed it might be worth looking at what we're using it for, using all this energy for the world's largest ad-broker will never make environmental sense.

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"Coming up next on BBC News Channel...

...Private company keeps one of its competitive edges secret to maximize profits. But first here's Sindy with the weather..."

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@David Wiernicki

Thats bollocks. The FACT is that more coal fired power stations come on line every month than there are nuclear stations on the drawing board for the next 10 years. Its all very well advocating dodgy tech, its completely another to bury your head in the sand and totally miss what is happening around you.

Deal with what IS happening rather than your own personal wet, techy dreams.

I mean, really, its like you failed totally to understand the problem. Maybe you just can't see beyond your own borders or something so I will spell it out .....

C.H.I.N.A.

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Thumb Up

economic incentive

Sheeesh Ashlee! No business is going to blow their competative edge, just to get a fuzzy green glow.

If the true costs of wasted energy are passed back to the consumers, then only the energy efficient companies will survive.

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Let's get real

Why are Google going low-power? The answer isn't to save the penguins. It's because for a company whose sole asset is the information it can provide from its servers, the cost of powering those servers is a major overhead. Save power, save money. And that's a competitive advantage over anyone else doing things with servers.

Yes, it'd be nice if that info was generally available. But who's it going to benefit? Their custom-tooled search-engine monster machines aren't very likely to be applicable to Joe Public who wants a reasonably-priced PC that can do a fair amount of stuff and play games. The only people who'd benefit are their competitors, which makes it pretty clear why they don't do it.

The single biggest power improvement available in a data centre is moving from AC power to DC power. Individual power supplies per machine are dreadfully inefficient, especially if it all goes through a UPS when it can have to be converted AC-to-DC-to-AC-to-DC with significant losses at each stage. And this has been a topic of conversation amongst server operators for 10-15 years, so it's not like it's news.

A more interesting idea would be to make active use of the heat from the servers. If you could dump the processor heat into the building's heating system, you'd get some significant improvements - not only from saving on heating bills, but also saving on air-con bills.

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Coat

Sick of Green

I don't believe I'll be the only one, but I'm sick to death with green this and green that. Are we as a whole making a difference and making the Earth a greener, safer and cleaner place? Of course we're not. Its just the latest trend and the only thing that is green and important is money.

If we take the money away we will make a difference but unfortunately thats not going to happen. Baby steps I hear you say....one step at a time....bollocks.

For the folks that are MS haters use linux and help with its development. Google haters group together and start an open source search engine.

Think Purple!

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Green Power Generation

In order to qualify as green an energy source has to be sustainable. This means it will provide energy for the long term without screwing up the planet. There is no way nuclear power meets this criterion.

The supply of uranium is finite, so nuclear power is not sustainable.

The waste produced is lethal and stays that way for tens of thousands of years.

The only green use of nuclear power involves the conveniently situated fusion reactor you will find a mere astronomical unit away. And it will outlast the planet!

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Microsoft vs Google

You do know that complaining about corporations is not a zero-sum game, right? Maybe Ashlee isn't complaining about Microsoft failing to hand out it's corporate secrets because MS are not going around the world having this conversation with people;

Google: "Look at us, you should all be doing what we are because we're saving the world. Anyone who doesn't is obviously an evil, kitten-drowning monster."

World: "OK, how can we become more green like you."

Google: "Not telling. Trade Secret"

World: "So, we have to do what you're doing but we're not allowed to know what it is that you are doing."

Google: "Yes. Fortunately, you can get around this problem by paying us to do the work for you."

World: "So you, the "non-evil" company, freely admit that what we are doing is destroying the world, you have an alternative that will save the world, but you'd rather keep the commercial advantage than share?"

Google: "Yes"

The reason Google are getting more stick than MS is that MS are simple evil corporate bastards whereas Google are evil corporate bastards who churn out endless bullshit PR about how great they are.Of course all businesses want to portray themselves in a positive light, but the double-think coming out of that place is at epic proportions

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Heart

@martin

Oh dear you so have it wrong...

insist on 'green' power generation, rather that banking on effeciency or abstinence

Yes much better to have all the lights on in the house running on green power, than turn them off!

Reduce, Reuse, recycle.

Simple answer Green power + Reduced useage is the way foward.

Othewise Green Power + More required = Even more power generation thefore more destruction

(yes you actually have to put windfarms, tidal barriers & solar arrays somewhere and nearly all result in enviromental issues)

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Stop

so is this the same google

that i read about a couple of months ago was going to build a new data center in Iowa(?) and the state just passed a new/special law making electric use private/state secret or some crap like that so nobody really knows how much they're sucking down??

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Vista - Raping the environment

If you are at all concerned about Google's energy saving secrets, why haven't we grabbed our tourches and pitchforks and gone after the real villian, Vista? The additional energy used by greater hardware requirements for Vista over XP times the number of PCs running Vista give a number that would probably be many times greater than all of the energy used by Google.

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Pirate

@fishman

Something fishy with your calculations here mate.

I accept the argument that vista is an inefficient power hungry monster.

However, when considering the environmental impact we have to consider a few more factors wrt vista :-

1) number of users : few

2) machine uptime : not long

3) corporate acceptance : none

So even though it sucks worse than an SUV (imho that is very bad), and consumes more power than a cruise ship per machine (say 20MW ;-P), we have an estimated global power usage of 5 (users) x 0.5 hours (uptime per day) x 20MW = 50MWH/day. Now XP, say 100M users, at 12 hours uptime (assume most switched off when not used ?), at say 200W per box, we get 100M x 12 x 200W = 240MWH/day, which is much more significant.

Seeing as I have such a magnificent grasp of statistics, it's an easy guess that I'm angling for a job in the UK government. All I have to do now is learn how to lose classified/personal data and the jobs mine !

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@AC@Martin

Human life itself results in 'environmental issues', what the green movement needs to do (and fast) is decide whats important and whats not.

Presuming AGW is 100% true, and that energy resources are being depleted, I would rate renewable power generation as 100% important; and wading birds living on a nice tidal estuary (for example) as entirely unimportant.

If you were REALLY serious about saving power you would be knitting by candlelight rather than reading this on several hundred watts-worth of computer, so as I said, abstainance and the reliance on presumed efficiency savings is 'pissing in the wind'.

As for nuclear and the 'shortage' of uranium referred to by a previous poster, I remember reading how supplies were short *assuming the current price of uranium*. As with any other commodity more resources/mines become viable with increasing price, and as the cost of uranium is such a minor factor in the total cost of nuclear generation, the electricity market could stand uranium prices rising tenfold, releasing 5x the supply of uranium. I would look for the article to back up my nuclear-related assertions, but frankly its 10:30 at night and I need to go to bed, so groundless assertions they must remain for now. My apologies.

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Gold badge

Microsoft & power saving

@Cavehomme, "Not hat I like these corporations particularly, but had it not been for MS then most of you would not be making a good living becuase the masses would not be using computers on anywhere near the present scale. Ms produces a lot of cr@p, but they have also done a lot of good, and at least evil Bill is paying his penance now by devoting much of his life to re-investing his billions to the poor sods of this world."

No, if not for MS PCs would have been running CP/M (and possibly MP/M, a multiuser version of CP/M) and GEM. DOS was just a CP/M clone, QDOS, that Microsoft bought for $50,000 (not telling the writer about the big deal they were working out with IBM). And, Digital Research was already working on GEM before Microsoft started Windows, so PCs would have had a graphical environment available without Microsoft. Other stuff Microsoft produced? Word processor? Wordstar, Wordperfect, AmiPro. Spreadsheet? Lotus 1-2-3. Virtually everything people credit Microsoft for "creating" already existed, Microsoft just put the competitors out of business (occasionally through making a somewhat better product, usually through monopolistic practices.)

@fishman: People HAVE gone after Vista with pitchforks. It seems like everyone hates on it full-time. I know I sure do.

More on topic, I think this article is just hating on Google. It'd be good for the environment for Google to release every trick they have for making an efficient data center, but it'd also be crazy. This is one of Google's major competitive advantages, and one I'm sure they've spent LOTS of money coming up with. Microsoft is still trying to kill Google, Google telling them how to save money on data centers would just help Microsoft do this.

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Paris Hilton

A title is required.

I have always been amazed at how people will pay anything for a problem, yet nothing for a solution.

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Silver badge

A Googley, Well Bowled.

"I have always been amazed at how people will pay anything for a problem, yet nothing for a solution." .... By Fuion Posted Thursday 19th June 2008 04:22 GMT

Well Spoken, Fuion. And surely a Certifiable Madness in the Presence of Solutions

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Stop

It's all bullshit ...

They couldn't give two hoots about the environment - it's all spin and money saving. If they use less energy they save money. If they tell the world that they're saving energy they can pretend they're all doing us a favour (PR for nothing).

It reminds me of the time I sat in one of Ronald McDonald's finest restaurants and read how they had all these wonderful environmentally friendly policies. As far as I could see, they were either forced to make the changes to meet legislative requirements or they saved a shit-load of money by doing whatever they said they were doing for the environment.

You know when a corporation is really doing something to help preserve the environment when they don't have to and it costs them more money to do than not. Unless those requirements are met they're just pretending to help the environment.

Just because something's environmentally friendly doesn't mean it's being done for the sake of the environment.

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