Apparently the media got the story wrong [what a shock!].
I had noted that the story clearly was wrong in my post “Ignore the media hype and keep Googling — The energy impact of web searches is very LOW.” Now TechNewsWorld reports:
A Harvard researcher spent much of Monday setting the record straight about his research and how it relates to Google’s energy consumption….
One problem: the study’s author, Harvard University physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, says he never mentions Google in the study. “For some reason, in their story on the study, the Times had an ax to grind with Google,” Wissner-Gross told TechNewsWorld. “Our work has nothing to do with Google. Our focus was exclusively on the Web overall, and we found that it takes on average about 20 milligrams of CO2 per second to visit a Web site.”
And that tiny amount of CO2 is, as they say, nothing to blog home about. Dog bites man.
Wissner-Gross deserves some of the blame for this media miscoverage since he still hasn’t published his study on-line as far as I can tell, which is odd for a study on online energy use. People I know who are familiar with his methodology do question it.