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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Help Google In Reducing CO2 While Using Google Talk

As per the inconvenient truth, every character (byte) you send in a message results in about 0.0000000000000000034 metric tons* of CO2 being released into the atmosphere! So if we can reduce the number of characters we send when we chat with all our friends, we can help the environment at the same time.

Teenagers (and some adults) must be aware of this, because they already reduce their character usage by abbreviating words and dropping vowels when they send IM and SMS (text) messages.

Google like this idea. If all Google talk users started using IM-speak, it will save hundreds of millions of wasted (and environmentally damaging!) characters.

For example, if we want to say:

As far as I'm concerned, you can give me the twenty dollars you owe me when I see you later.

You could save more than 50% in wasted characters by saying:

AFAIC, U can gve me the 20 $$ YOM whn I CUL8R.

In honor of Earth Day (3 weeks from today: April 22, 2008), on that day Google Talk servers will start automatically sending your conversations using IM-speak instead of normal words. But you can help save some computing power (and more wasted energy!) by shortening your conversations yourself.

It is required to practice the IM-speak. To help in this, Google Talk introduced a new translation bot, en2im@bot.talk.google.com, which will translate your conversations into IM-speak, to help you get used to the new lingo. Add this user to your roster, or use Google's convenient new chatback feature to start a conversation with the bot by clicking the badge below:

You'll be doing your part to help the environment. If you get a message with an abbreviation you don't understand, send just that abbreviation to the bot and it will translate it back.

* It takes about 2.5 Watts to power a 1Gb/s link [1]. 2.5 Joules/s / 1Gb/s = 2.5e-9 J/b * 8 b/byte = 2e-8 Joules/byte. The average emissions cost of electricity in the United States is 0.605 metric tons of CO2 per MWh [2]. 1MWh is 3.6e9 Joules. So to produce 2e-8 Joules, we emit about 3.36e-18 metric tons of CO2.

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