Blackle: Making a Difference

The Washington Post reports that Blackle, a website by Australia-based Heap Media, is trying to “help make a difference” through a black version of Google, the top search engine. This was prompted by a blogger who calculated that switching to Google to a black background could save 3,000 megawatt-hours every year.

The Post doesn’t tell you that you only save power by using Blackle if you’re viewing Google on an old CRT monitor. If you own an LCD, be aware that its back-lights is powered up to full whenever it’s on. You see, black on an LCD is created by the back-light being blocked, not having it turned off pixel by pixel. With LCDs making up 75% of the Googlers of the world, this code change won’t make a difference in the power consumption for the majority of users, but it will make Google less attractive and harder on the eyes.


The free market is already taking care of power consumption as consumers are quickly transitioning to LCDs, which are more energy efficient, take up less desktop space, and offer generally better display quality. While greens wants to recode the web to look like (which already has a black-themed Google search box) it’s probably wiser and ultimately less power-consumptive to wait for the eventual extinction of our old cathode-powered friends.

But while we’re on the topic of power saving, what about the power used to send around links to Blackle? How many megawatts could we save by cutting down on these annoying emails? How about all the podcasts that will tout the virtues of the Dimm Web? The horror! We should stop talking about this and go about our business, before more power is wasted. In fact, I better stop blogging! Better yet, my blog posts will now be written on 100% recycled paper and submitted via free-range carrier pigeon. It’s just my way of making a difference.