UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 219 September 11, 2007

The Dark Google Myth

We’ve all been sent this e-mail...

If Google had a black screen, taking into account the huge number of page views it receives, an estimated 750 mega watts/hour per year (sic) would be saved.

With this in mind, Google has created a black version of its search engine called Blackle, which functions in exactly the same ways as its white version, but consumes far less energy. Help to spread the word, use: www.blackle.com

Blackle.com

Firstly, that page was not created by Google but by an entirely different company. Blackle is simply hooking into Google’s search engine.

More importantly, other than the warm, tingly sensation you get when you feel that you have done something good, which is disputable in this case, there are few benefits to this proposal. As such, I find this article rather misleading.

The proposal would be appropriate if we were all using old CRT screens but with LCDs, the power usage is constant, with most of the power being used by the back lighting. Mere microvolts are needed to activate the actual liquid crystals in the case of a wristwatch or calculator, so with no back light, a small 1.5 Volt battery powering a watch or calculator can last several years. Similarly, the power used to run a CRT TV for one night would be enough to keep your LCD watch running for several generations. Making a LCD screen black does not use any less back light, unless it is made black by turning down the brightness, but that would be pointless as then you would not be able to see anything.

If anyone really wanted to save energy, it would probably make more sense to promote LCDs over CRTs, as they are generally more power-efficient. Google has been in the limelight for a while on the subject of energy consumption, and I am convinced that they would have better results if they focused their attention on reducing the power consumed by their servers.

Another though – why not search less? Every search you do contributes to the power consumption of Google’s servers, so fewer searches would probably save a lot more power than a black background. Don’t you think?

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Comments

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google would save alot of energy if they made their screen black because it is a scientific fact that darker lights such as a black backround on a screen would save more energy and make less light polution

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Proving CTR's use more energy than LCD's is easy. Just ask your cat!

CRT's give off tons of waste energy in the form of heat. Kitty likes to drape herself over your CTR. She could care less about laying around your LCD screen.

Oh, and just another two cents. I used my Kill A Watt to measure white and black screen will an LCD and the power consumption was the same.

Also, keeping a CTR in service because it has not completed its useful life may not be the most efficient solution. I have had monitors last for decades. Eventually the energy you would be saving will offset the material waste of dumping your CRT before it dies.

We make videos about how people misuse power at

http://energy.8thsister.com

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I think that using black as a background in Goole is still justifiable when it comes to saving energy. LCD screens use a constant amount energy regardless of screen colour. SO even if we save money on the few CRT screens left which may represent even just 5%, we can still save energy overall. Plus i find it easier on the eyes.

i use http://dark-google.com/

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People who say that LCD's don't save energy seem to live in a different world. All research shows energy savings. If people on the internet said that the earth was flat you would also believe them? A black Google will certainly save energy and some of this search engines will have more than just the black background
Dark Google information

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Good one, I didn't know you could save energy by changing the google page black, :S btw the problem with the LCD is that it doesn't give that exact color when you are dealing with print design, which the reason I can't change my CRT, otherwise would love to use a LCD saves my electricity bill as well. :D Thanks

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First off, light text on a dark background is not particularly difficult to read if done properly. Second, the blackle concept, as noted in the article is only appropriate for CRTs, not the prevalent LCD technology.

In the future displays that use 'ePaper' technology will benefit from all 'white' backgrounds, as these require less 'pixle bubble things' to be flipped.

The first time someone showed me Blackle they outright refused to accept that the concept would not save energy on their Mac book..

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Blackle is a good site, even if it supposedly doesn't save energy (which it does), the black screen is more relaxing/calming then the white one. just my opinion. and, this article might have been written juts to promote Google, not blackle.

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Good one. Blackle.com is just making a few bucks with Adsense overall it's just of no use. Moreover, every search you do contributes to the power consumption of Google’s servers, so fewer searches would probably save a lot more power than a black background.Regards,Earvin James

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valery made a great point, I always use the search box at the top of the browser rather than going to Google's homepage. I think Google's nice white clean look is better than the doomy black one.

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Good one, I didn't know you could save energy by changing the google page black, :S
btw the problem with the LCD is that it doesn't give that exact color when you are dealing with print design, which the reason I can't change my CRT, otherwise would love to use a LCD saves my electricity bill as well. :D
Thanks,
Open moon project

22
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I find that way cool that people are trying to find ways to save money on something many people are using, so changing the screens to being black will save some of the watts being used to illistrate the image on the screen. nice job :)

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Yet, everyone know that Blackle.com is rubbish but nevertheless I true believe that they are making a few bucks with Adsense.

20
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If google had a black screen, many users have to pay a money to hospital. Because their eyes must be getting hurt 

22
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This all sounds a bit implausible. Are these guys for real? I'm all for socially responsible and ethical businesses who actually bothered to think green issues as part of their management agenda but to me this Blackie thing looks like a site trying to earn adsense revenue - or am I being too cynical? surely a more sensible way to save energy would be to focus on the bigger issues in business such as turning off lights in offices, using more fuel-efficient cars and dealing with companies with the green agenda.

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Lol so funny, saving energy one browser at a time. 

23
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If google had a black screen, many users have to pay a money to hospital. Because their eyes must be getting hurt.

22
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Every time you USE your computer it contributes to power consumption, so here’s the only long-term solution – install renewable energy sources for your own home. Small-scale wind turbines are great in the UK, while solar thermal power would work in more sun-blessed countries :-)

If you can’t afford to install those, switch energy supplier to one who sources their electricity from renewable methods of wind, solar and hydro power.

When your CRT monitor has reached the end of its useful life (and not before, that’s just wasting resources) recycle it properly and switch to a more efficient LCD screen. Always switch off the monitor and computer fully when not in use, and utilise a sleep function if you have one.

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Anyway why go to the Google homepage when you have a search box in your web browser ?

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Google’s official reply to the nonsense.
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/is-black-new-green.html

21
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Yet, everyone know that Blackle.com is rubbish but nevertheless I true believe that they are making a few bucks with Adsense…

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If google had a black screen, many users have to pay a money to hospital. Because their eyes must be getting hurt.

15
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Empire strikes backs. Dark side of Google.

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too bad people wouldn’t use it because it would hurt their eyes. I wonder what the carbon offset of a non useful green page is?

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too bad people wouldn’t use it because it would hurt their eyes. I wonder what the carbon offset of a non useful green page is?

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Empire strikes backs. Dark side of Google.

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If google had a black screen, many users have to pay a money to hospital. Because their eyes must be getting hurt.

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Definitely yes. Nowadays, it seems that we cannot live without Google. However, there is still something that we can do to save the energy, such as run your car as fewer times as possible, be sure that your electrical applications including computers are shut off, to just name a few. If every one in this world can do this world some favor to live inside more simply, we can expect a better world outside.

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Yet, everyone know that Blackle.com is rubbish but nevertheless I true believe that they are making a few bucks with Adsense…

28
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Anyway why go to the Google homepage when you have a search box in your web browser ?

23
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Every time you USE your computer it contributes to power consumption, so here’s the only long-term solution – install renewable energy sources for your own home. Small-scale wind turbines are great in the UK, while solar thermal power would work in more sun-blessed countries :-)

If you can’t afford to install those, switch energy supplier to one who sources their electricity from renewable methods of wind, solar and hydro power.

When your CRT monitor has reached the end of its useful life (and not before, that’s just wasting resources) recycle it properly and switch to a more efficient LCD screen. Always switch off the monitor and computer fully when not in use, and utilise a sleep function if you have one.

25
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lol....
a better idea for energy nuts who want to reduce people's energy usage, is for the energy nuts to simply throw their own computers away. that'd save so much energy, shows you how serious people are about it, they want everyone else to do things to save energy but when someone tells them to do the thing they're telling everyone else to do, they don't like it.

ps: I drive my car around, just to pollute. I leave electronics on so i can waste enough energy to make up for people trying to save energy, and i throw garbage out my car window, because I care about inmates having their "get away" time to pick it all up. I do it, because I care about the earth.

it's true.