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Google’s Data Center’s Fascinating energy Facts

Sunil Rajbahak

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We all know that Google is called for tens of thousands of times a second, millions of times per hour, billions of times a day and trillions of times per year. This made many people wonder how much power Google actually consumes to keep up with the calls for searches.

Google Data Center at Dallas

Google recently revealed all of its power consumption secrets. And here are some mind boggling stats.

  1. Google continuously uses enough electricity to power 200,000 homes
  2. Google uses 260 million watts continuously to keep up with the demands.
  3. Power consumed in one Google search is equivalent to lighting a 60W bulb for 17 seconds.
  4. Google’s estimated carbon emission is 1.5 million metric tons. And that was in 2010- 25 percent of the source was renewable. I leave it up to you to decide whether it was enough or not.
  5. Google consumes 0.013% of total global energy. Even the speed at which the results load and how many servers they have will not be able to fully justify this energy consumption. If we can believe Atlas compilation, it will be safe to assume that there are 4416 cities in the world (population>150,000). So basically, Google uses more power than what half of a typical city would require. Let’s do the maths and prove it.
    • Let’s consider that these cities consume all of the world’s electricity (which is false because they don’t. There are many places which have not considered cities because of our criteria. Yet, they consume considerable amount of electricity. )
    • Then one urban city will use approximately 100/4416 ~ 0.022% of electricity.
    • 0.013 > 0.011. Proved.
  6. YouTube can stream for three days on the energy it takes to make a DVD (from raw material to manufacturing).

Why was Google so secretive about its power consumption facts?

Until recently, Google had kept its lips zipped when prompted about the power consumption statistics. This might have been because they consumed too much power. Now that they have used the DeepMind AI to tackle the problem, they have released their statistics.

Is Google using that much electricity good or bad?

While the energy consumptions might seem large, looking at it from a different perspective suggests that Google actually is doing pretty well.

Consider this situation: “You drive your car from your house to nearby library and back to get a piece of information”. How does that sound? Not so good, I guess.

Or this: “Imagine yourself desperate for info on a topic of Science. You call the people you know are authoritative in your niche. You have a neighbor who has an interest in Science. First, you go to him. Consider it does not work out. Then you have a friend’s brother who has a degree in the related field. You go to him. No luck. Now you have to visit your professor- who might and might not be helpful and busy. ”

This is a lot of work for a little bit of information. So, all in all, I think Google using all that energy and resources is for the betterment of mankind.


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