Google Talk goes green

Posted on October 17

Here at Google, we’re committed to helping build a clean energy future and reducing our carbon footprint. And now Google Talk is part of the solution. We don’t know about you, but we were surprised to learn the inconvenient truth that every character (byte) we send in a message results in about 0.0000000000000000034 metric tons* of CO2 being released into the atmosphere! So if we can reduce the number of characters we send when we chat with all our friends, we can help the environment at the same time.

Teenagers (and some adults) must be aware of this, because they already reduce their character usage by abbreviating words and dropping vowels when they send IM and SMS (text) messages. We think this is a great idea. If all our millions of users started using IM-speak, we’d save hundreds of millions of wasted (and environmentally damaging!) characters.

For example, if we want to say:
As far as I’m concerned, you can give me the twenty dollars you owe me when I see you later.

You could save more than 50% in wasted characters by saying:
AFAIC, U can gve me the 20 $$ YOM whn I CUL8R.

In honor of Earth Day (3 weeks from today: April 22, 2008), on that day our Google Talk servers will start automatically sending your conversations using IM-speak instead of normal words. But you can help save some computing power (and more wasted energy!) by shortening your conversations yourself.

We know you’ll all want to practice your IM-speak, so we’re helping by introducing a new translation bot,, which will translate your conversations into IM-speak, to help you get used to the new lingo. Add this user to your roster, or use our convenient new chatback feature to start a conversation with the bot by clicking the badge below:

You’ll be doing your part to help the environment. If you get a message with an abbreviation you don’t understand, send just that abbreviation to the bot and it will translate it back. And parents: as a side bonus you’ll finally understand what your kids are saying! Kp on chttng, & CUL8R!

The Google Talk Team

* It takes about 2.5 Watts to power a 1Gb/s link [1]. 2.5 Joules/s / 1Gb/s = 2.5e-9 J/b * 8 b/byte = 2e-8 Joules/byte. The average emissions cost of electricity in the United States is 0.605 metric tons of CO2 per MWh [2]. 1MWh is 3.6e9 Joules. So to produce 2e-8 Joules, we emit about 3.36e-18 metric tons of CO2.

[1] C Gunaratne, K Christensen, B Nordman. Managing energy consumption costs in desktop PCs and LAN switches with proxying, split TCP connections, and scaling of link speed. Internation Journal of Network Managment, 15(5), September 2005. See slides

[2] US Department of Energy. Electric Power Annual 2006. Table ES (Divide
total CO2 emissions by total electricity generated.)

Source: Google News & Talks

Category: Geeky Talks.


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