Googling vs. boiling: the story continues

Excellent round-up by Kevin Anderson in the Guardian.

The tech community has also been quick to point out Google's green efforts, and tech commentator Jeremy Wagstaff highlights a possible conflict of interest for Wissner-Gross. Articles mention that Wissner-Gross has set up Wagstaff says that neither the article in the Times (nor another article at BBC News) explain:

…the website—and Wissner-Gross–directly benefits from this kind of research. C02Stats offers clients plans, ranging from $5 a month to $100, to calculate their websites total energy consumption, make it more energy efficient, and then neutralizes their carbon footprint by buying renewable energy from wind and solar farms.

Now, it’s pretty typical for news organisations to cover stories like this, and it’s a clever bit of PR. However, not to explain the business model of Wissner-Gross’s website, help put the figures in context and provide motivation for the publication of the figures. Many have asked about the figures methology, and provides an outline of its method:

“CO2Stats software continuously scans your website so that it can monitor your site’s energy usage each time someone visits your site. CO2Stats is very smart, and is able to capture a large amount of data about your site’s total energy consumption. For example, it can tell what make and model of computer your visitor is using, what its electrical consumption is, and even what types of fossil fuels are being burned in order to power that computer. Likewise, it is able to detect how much and what type of energy your server is using, and even how much and what type of energy is being used to power the networks that are connecting your visitors’ computers with your servers.

That raises a question. Is Google responsible for the ineffiency of some computers that people are using to conduct their search?