What If Yahoo, Google, MSN, Youtube and Myspace Turned Black?

In my last post I described how Google can save almost 15 MW energy per day if they switch to dark colored pages and as a result save $1800 PER HOUR for all users combined (at 12 cents/KWH) . This saving is excluding the synergistic savings the users will achieve (such as a tiny saving in air conditioning cost, because the monitor emits less heat).

Going back again to alexa.com, I see that yahoo has about the same reach as Google (around 25% of Internet users), but every visitor sees about 15 pages on yahoo, which is 3 times that of for Google. Keeping all our assumptions same, this means if yahoo switches from bright background to dark, the users will save of order of 45 MW.

Now this is getting interesting. The third ranked website as of today is Youtube. On Youtube people spend a lot more time per page watching video. Assuming most of them are not watching full screen version, can we assume that on an average a Youtube user sees the page for 2 minutes?

So Youtube’s percentage reach is about one third of that of Google. But page views per user is about 11. Let’s round it off to 10, which is double of Google. Also we assumed a Youtube user stays on one page for 2 mins, or 120 seconds (24 times that of Google). So now their total user-page-seconds will be (Google figure / 3)* 2 * 24 = Google figure * 16.

Agreed a big square on the website is the video playing, so we will reduce this by about 25% because that area is covered by video panel, color of which cannot be changed. Still the user-page-seconds figure of Youtube is about 12 times that of Google. That means 15 MW x 12 = 180 MWs of energy.

The only assumptions I am making while doing this calculations are approximately how long a user stays on that website( which is 5 seconds for Google and yahoo and 2 minutes for Youtube). Also I am using calculations about Google, shown in my previous post, as reference. I made one more assumption there, about the total number of LCDs in the world to be approximately 20%. LCDs are far more prevalent in USA and Europe, but still most of the remaining world is using good old CRTS.

Doing similar analysis for MSN.com and Myspace.com, we get the following.

MSN.com – 30% reach,8 pages per user, so white-on-screen index is almost twice of that of Google, so if they switch, they will save about 30 MW.

Myspace has reach about 5%, but page view per user about 35, so white-on-screen index is about 1.5 times of that of Google, so about 22 KW of savings.

So in all total, top five websites, Yahoo, Google, MSN, Youtube and Myspace, if switch to dark page colors, will save 15 + 45 + 180 + 30 + 22 = approximately 300 MW of energy PER HOUR. If you consider the air conditioner saving factor, this saving is higher. Also my assumptions are little on conservative side, so the real savings will most likely be even higher.

In monetary terms, this amounts to saving $36,000/ hour combined saving to the total Internet user base at 12 cents/KWH. This amount is saved from going to utility company and will be available as disposable income of consumers. This savings is apart from reducing the CO2 emissions by almost 350,000 lbs (per HOUR) and all that good stuff. Because even today majority of electricity in USA and rest of the world (except a few European countries) is produced by coal fired power plants.


~ by Kedar on March 8, 2007.

10 Responses to “What If Yahoo, Google, MSN, Youtube and Myspace Turned Black?”

  1. I stumbled across your blog, nice stuff. Just wondering if you have taken this idea to environmental groups such as NRDC.org, http://www.greenpeace.org, etc to provide more media coverage of your idea and possibly add additional pressure on internet search engines to provide a more environmentally/energy friendly color. Have you preformed your test on different colors than W and B ie ROYGBIV to see what percentage of energy savings would be possible?

    As a side note.
    The company that I work for has a written policy that we are NOT to turn off our computers at the end of the day or over weekends because program updates may periodically be installed overnight.

  2. I don’t think this is something that’s going to gain a lot of movement, especially from the well-established companies such as Google and Yahoo. They have a reputation and a tradition. As far as I know, Google has always been a white background. However, I’m not Google or Yahoo, so I can’t say for sure what they would think of changing. Surely such a simple change resulting in ANY savings whatsoever would be possible. I’ve noticed the rare occasions when the MySpace home background thing was black, but all in all it is white. Perhaps they had the same idea?

    • google already does it with blackle.com

      i know what u mean but i think they could at least have the option to make the home page black for the users who want to save energy

  3. Hello D C,

    Even I noticed black background on Myspace a couple of times. But have not come across anything that said this was to save energy.

    About yahoo and Google, I don’t know if they will agree. I just want to try. Even if they provide an “environmentalist option”, to set it to black for those who want it, that is good enough.

    I appreciate your comment. This kind of discussion makes the blog worth reading.


  4. Interesting, I was thinking the same thing. It is nice to know that others are thinking green at per user (of Earth) level.

    I just read another article about “who was greener”, and what Yahoo and Google were doing (as I read) to impress the new stations. Not that what they are doing isn’t better, but imagine if they went with a black background. Then they could broadcast to the world that NOT only are they saving energy at Yahoo Inc., but they could say they are helping save energy in some small corner of the world.

    I think Keith had a couple of good ideas. I would like to the data with the other colors, because black can look uninviting at times.

    Keith, I would like to mention a couple things, we also push out updates at night. You might want to have the company look into power management modes and wake on LAN settings. This will allow the computers to shut down when updates are not being pushed out. I am guessing updates don’t happen EVERY night. So the other thing is to only push out the updates on a certain day of the week. I know there are problems with both, but they are ideas that have been working [for the most part 🙂 ] for us.

  5. For Google Black Search is http://googleinblack.blogspot.com

    Save the earth with the energy saving search engine.

  6. […] Dit artikel wijdt lekker uit over dit fenomeen, en vindt uit dat andere websites nog grotere energiebesparingen kunnen opleveren dan bij google.  […]

  7. Personally I think it’s going to be the next big thing ways to make a website look good but be energy effective.

  8. […] Dit artikel wijdt lekker uit over dit fenomeen, en vindt uit dat andere websites nog grotere energiebesparingen kunnen opleveren dan bij google. […]

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