The obsession that most GenZ has with the color black is for real! Black is often used as a symbol of mystery, elegance and nonconformity, which may resonate with the independent and individualistic values of many young people. But are you aware of some of the properties of color black? Black color absorbs most of the heat and radiates less amount of heat energy. Throughout history, many scientific discoveries and advancements have been made possible by the application of this property.
One such advancement made is of Blackle – The black Google.
In January 2007, Heap media, an Australian Internet company based in Sydney launched Blackle, after an environmental blog treehugger.com published a paper, ‘Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year’.
Blackle is a search engine that claims to save energy by displaying search results on a black background instead of a white background, which is the default for most search engines
The Science Behind Blackle –
The idea behind Blackle is simple to understand, white colour radiates more and absorbs less heat energy this will cause higher heat generation, leading to increase in Carbon footprint. Using a black background can reduce energy consumption and help to reduce carbon emissions.
While Blackle’s energy-saving claims have been debated, it is true that using a search engine like Blackle can help to reduce your digital footprint. This is because every time you conduct a search, your computer sends a request to a server, which then sends back the results. This process requires energy and generates carbon emissions, as servers and data centers consume a significant amount of electricity.
By using a search engine like Blackle, you can help to minimize the amount of energy and carbon emissions associated with your online activities.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the impact of individual actions like using a specific search engine may be relatively small, and reducing your overall digital footprint may require more significant changes to your online habits and behaviours
How does Blackle make the Difference –
Blackle makes a difference by offering a sustainable alternative to traditional search engines and by raising awareness about the importance of reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint.
In the paper, ‘Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year’ it is mentioned that ,
“Google gets about 200 million queries a day. Assuming, each query is displayed for about 10 seconds, means Google is running for about 550,000 hours every day on some desktop. Assuming that users run Google in full screen mode, the shift to a black background [on a CRT monitor!] will save a total of 15 (74-59) watts. That turns into a global savings of 8.3 Megawatt-hours per day, or about 3000 Megawatt-hours a year. Now take into account that about 25 percent of the monitors in the world are CRTs, and at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, that’s $75,000, a goodly amount of energy and dollars for changing a few color codes.”
The point to be noted here is that this blog was published in the year 2007, that is during CRT era. However, CRT screens are no longer as commonly used as they once were. CRT are now replaced by LCD screens.
Blackle v/s Google –
- The first difference has to be about the User Interface – Blackle uses Black Interface while Google uses white Interface.
- Blackle is a basic search engine with limited features. However, Google has features like personalized search, voice search, and Google Maps
- Google is owned by Alphabet Inc., while Blackle is owned by Heap Media, a small Australian company
- We cannot deny the fact that, Google is by far the most popular search engine, with over 90-92% of the global search engine market share, while Blackle has a very small user base.
fig.2. The black and white google – Homepage.
Drawbacks of Blackle-
And.. I need not mention that as Every rose has its own thorn. Just like that the use of Blackle as a search engine with a black background has its negative aspects too. Many netizens have raised counter-arguments that suggest Blackle may have little to no significance in terms of saving power.
- The energy-saving benefits of using a black background on computer monitors may only apply to a specific type of monitor, the CRT, which currently accounts for only 20% and less of screens globally. In the era of LCDs, CRT based monitors are virtually a dead technology.
- For newer thin LCD monitors, using a black background may not result in any major energy savings.
- Furthermore, the potential energy savings from using a black background may only occur for short periods of time, as users often quickly find the page they are looking for and leave the black background.
Blackle’s focus on energy conservation and sustainability remains relevant in today’s era. The need for sustainable practices is more important than ever. Blackle’s energy-saving approach is still applicable to modern technology, including LCD (liquid crystal display) screens. It may not be as effective as it was for CRT, but by using a dark background, Blackle can still help to reduce the amount of energy consumed by electronic devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. Although the energy savings achieved through Blackle may appear modest on an individual level, when multiplied by millions of users across the globe, it can make a considerable difference in reducing the overall carbon footprint. Moreover, the frequent use of Blackle as the default search engine serves as a reminder to individuals to be mindful of their energy consumption and encourages them to take additional steps towards sustainability. By adopting Blackle, individuals can contribute towards a more sustainable future, one small step at a time.
While it is widely recognized that switching off the monitor when it is not in use is the most effective way to conserve energy, it can be challenging to remember to do so consistently. Despite our best intentions, it is easy to forget to turn off the monitor, particularly when we are busy or distracted. Incorporating greener alternatives like blackle into our daily lives can help us further our efforts towards sustainability, without any adverse effects. It will have a huge impact on the digital footprint, which is whole together a new and interesting topic that one should surely invest their time in!
 CRT – Cathode Ray Tube. During 2000’s, desktop computer displays were made with the use of CRTs. It is similar to the “picture tube” in a television receiver.