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Environmentalists choose Google :)

DPic [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, September 21, 2006
14 years ago3,468 views

Any environmentalist should recognize that every person is a part of the world and has a distinct impact on it. Every decision makes a difference. Everything you do: the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the products and services you use, the sites you visit and the channels you watch; more than just who you elect into office; everything; they all influence and affect politics, society, the environment, etc. That's why it's important that we make our choices wisely and not shortsightedly. Google is a company like no other in the world. It's well known for it's upstanding corporate philosophy and original culture. Google has a unique and innovative approach to everything they do-- their services, their office environment, and pretty much everything else. They support free speech, free content, network neutrality, open content, etc. In many respects, Google is also extremely environmentally friendly, which makes them the premier choice for any environmentalist looking for the best, and greenest, online services.

All of Google's systems are highly efficient<< nytimes.com/2006/07/03/technol ... they are custom designed in a fashion that is unlike any computers in the world today, and also don't run on Intel or Windows. Not only is their hardware designed to be highly efficient but the software that runs on them is also very efficient because their operating systems that they run on internally are mostly highly modified versions of linux, an open source operating system. They also take advantage of parallel processing and efficient components from companies like AMD and Sun Microsystems to increase efficiency and reduce the needed system resources.

Google is obviously structured with the future in mind. Their systems are set up with super-efficient DC power supplies << tgdaily.com/2005/11/04/google_ ... and because of that are already at 90% efficiency and increasing instead of 70% like most. They are working to improve upon that even more and want that level of efficiency to reach consumer grade electronics. They are also working on the physical layout of data centers to increase efficiency in that area as well. Google has even been featured on treehugger (the webs most popular environmental blog) many times. Google's co-founders, Sergey Brinn and Larry Page, are investors in nanosolar technology<< treehugger.com/files/2005/06/g ...

Aside from the obvious benefit Google has from being so efficient, Googlers and Google users are also encouraged to be environmental. Google celebrates national bike month googleblog.blogspot.com/2004/0 ... and ride your bike to work week << googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/0 ... and many Googlers rode their bikes to work instead of driving. Google held a Google Environmental Fair << googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/0 ... for employees to learn about going green. They've promoted green buildings, clean air, and have even promoted terrapass which is a service that offsets your carbon emissions. For Earth Day of 2006 << googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/0 ... they teamed up with Scholastic to educate students from tens of thousands of middle schools and 100,000 more teachers about the environment. Google even created a service in partnership with the Earth Day Network to offer people a way to make environmental vacation plans << googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/0 ... with the popular Google Maps. They also promote using public transportation with transit search << treehugger.com/files/2005/12/g ... which shows you how much money you save (that you would have spent on fuel driving). Last but not least, the Google Foundation, google.org, now lead by Larry Brilliant, will be investing $1,000,000,000 << treehugger.com/files/2006/07/g ... along with one percent of the equity, 1 percent of the profits, and 1 percent of the people of Google to battle the climate crisis and other global issues. If you are an environmentalist looking for the best and greenest online services around, why not see if Google has what you need?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

> They support free speech

Not in China, not fully.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

very true. i doubt that google really had no choice but to cooperate with the chinese governemnet. that's one this google did that really disappointed me, they definately could've put up a better fight.

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

>> They support free speech

>Not in China, not fully.

Who does ?

DPic [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

true, but there's always the chance that they could have changed that.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

> > > They support free speech
> >
> >Not in China, not fully.
>
> Who does ?

E.g. Zheng Yichun, who's now imprisoned for 7 years for writing a gov't-critical article:
blogoscoped.com/archive/2006-0 ...

On a related note, searches for [Zheng Yichun] are partly censored in Google China.
google.cn/search?hl=zh-CN& ...

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

DPic and Philipp, Every rational businessmen/women would comply with China's restrictions (no matter how ludicrous). I'm not say it's ethical to do that but it's part of being a business.

Philip, What do you mean partly censored ?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Sohil, I think the web business of the future is getting and keeping user trust. Google lost a lot of trust with their move. And even if it wouldn't make business sense, we need to look at what's moral... and possibly create a legal framework to push companies into doing the right thing, if they don't do so voluntarily.

With partly censored I meant that there are some results showing, and some results are not showing for [Zheng Yichun].

DPic [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

just because everyone sits back and lets this stuff happen idlely doesn't mean that when google comes around they should too, it's unlike them. change can happen even if google were to fail, which they probably would, their efforts would have made a lasting impression and could've started the pressure for something revolutionary for china.

Richard L. Brandt [PersonRank 3]

14 years ago #

But I don't see any alternative that's more ethical than what Google did. The story that this notoriously secretive company never managed to convey properly is this:

For nine years, Google has run a Chinese language search engine, off Chinese soil so that it would not have to be censored. But the Chinese government, through its national firewall, blocked access to all controversial search results on Google anyway. Google could not prevent it. The firewall also slowed down search results and introduced glitches.

So Google decided to set up shop in China, where it could build a more efficient search engine. When they put employees in China, they had to censor, or Google employees could be arrested. But Google figured that, at least, the search engine would be more efficient.

And here's the important point: Google still operates its offshore Chinese language search engine. Google does not censor it, but the Chinese government still does. It is still inefficient. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Chinese Googlers still use the offshore version.

But by compromising its principles, Google is losing the PR wars. It damages people's trust which, as Philipp points out, is critical to its future. Google needs to become much more open in answering its critics.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

Google has been as open as is appropriate-- it's the media that is talking about this stuff which has already been justified.

I wonder though, could Google, being the highly secretive company that it is, survive as an open business under corporate transparency? I like the idea of both of those, and I like Google, but what would that be like and how would they do it (if they could)?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I don't fully accept the "blocked anyway" argument:

- Google.com wasn't fully blocked from China – the rare times it was, there was a public outcry and it was unblocked again

- An uncensored search result has value in itself, because at least – for many terms – you'll see a snippet, and you'll *know* when the ISP censors something

- Through becoming another member in the "blocked anyway" party, the barrier for others to block too is lowered. "Everyone does it, right? So let's do it too." Censorship becomes "OK". China "blocks anyway." Yahoo "blocks anyway." Google "blocks anyway."

- The "blocked anyway" argument now holds true for Google itself; the Chinese gov't can now decide to unblock certain sites... they can't be found anyway, they're now basically blocked by Google & Baidu & Yahoo & MSN! The morality always remains the same; I can't commit a crime for the sole reason that crimes will get committed everyday anyway (assuming censorship is a crime, which I'll leave open). In fact everyone in the censorship responsibility chain can point fingers at the other pary
- even the ISP can say "if I don't follow the gov't orders, they Chinese gov't simply destroys my business and switches to another ISP who will then do the censorship". And a gov't official pressuring an ISP can say "I don't like to do this but if I will not pressure the ISP, then I will be simply replaced by another official who will do the same." But in the end, everyone in the chain is responsible for the censorship – and since 2006 that includes Google.

Ramibotros [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

^ wow, do all germans argue that well? :D

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