Could Blackle be the new earth-friendly Google?

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Actually, just to get it out of the way, Blackle is powered by Google.

But according to my friend's 11-year-old kid, using Blackle instead of Google will save the planet.

Gee, that sounds good. So naturally, I went and checked out Blackle.com.

As it turns out, it's a search engine -- again, powered by Google but owned by Heap Media -- however, the screen is black, and the font is white. And that is about the only big difference between Google and Blackle that I can tell.But the reason Blackle exists is that, according to its "about Blackle" web page, it's been estimated that a Black Google would save 750 megawatts of energy a year. The idea is that the more color on the computer screen, the more energy your computer uses. And many, many people use Google. So if we're all using Blackle, a Black Google, think how much energy would be saved. The web site admits that there's been "skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages."

But they go onto say that they "believe that there is value in the concept because even if the energy savings are small, they all add up."

They want people to set Blackle as their home page and for everyone to put in their email signature, "Blackle.com -- saving energy one search at a time."

It's all very interesting and admirable, but at the same time I can't help but have a snarky thought like: "Well, I could save a lot of energy by throwing my computer out a window. I wouldn't be able to write and make a living and thus I couldn't feed and shelter my family, but once we were thrown out of our house, think of the energy we'd save."

I guess since I'm still having trouble remembering to take shopping bags to the grocery, and I'm still trying to master the art of recycling, the thought that my searching on the computer has unnecessarily mucking up the environment... well, it's a little depressing, or daunting, or something.

But the folks at Blackle.com have given me something to think about, and I appreciate it. Sort of.

Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).


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