'Google Green' Searches for Alternative Energy Answers
By the look of their new site, Google is about to expand the green part of their business far beyond the L in their famous logo. In response to criticism about the massive energy use by its data centers, as well as the acquisition of a number of renewable energy companies, Google has launched Google Green, a new website-cum-company philosophy that shows off just how diversified the search giant has become.
At its heart, Google Green shows off the company's belief in the transformative power of raw data. Much like how Google's search algorithm changes the web through better organization, and how Google Earth enabled a whole new suite of technologies by better organizing geographic data, Google's green initiative promises to reduce CO2 emissions by providing the computer horsepower needed for more complex climate science and generating more efficient routes for public transportation.
Presented with the precise design one would expect from an Internet pioneer, the Google Green website uses a mixture of slick animation, interactive infographics and a minimalist layout to simultaneously tout the energy efficiency of its current products and its plans for future development. Want to know how Google plans on saving Amazonian tribes while composting its own lunchroom leftovers ? Well, now you can.
The site in particular, and the initiative in general, also embodies the seemingly contradictory combination of cynical market tactics and wide-eyed idealism that pervades a technology industry run by CEOs who are equal part hippies and ruthless businessmen. Google undoubtedly believes in its environmental mission, having gone carbon neutral back in 2007. However, the site's numerous mentions of its high data center efficiency can't help but come across as an offensive industry play after a recent Greenpeace report ranked Apple, one of Google's main rivals, as the least-green cloud computing company .
With the site still only a few days old, Google Green shows off more sizzle than steak, and doesn't reveal the future of the project. Will this become an energy equivalent to Google Labs, where the company will debut new ideas its been tinkering with? Or will the site simply become a mouthpiece for green washing initiatives? Either way, debuting an initiative focused on nothing less than the future of the world's energy supply once again shows how Google dreams quite a bit larger than its neighbors over in Cupertino.