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"The company said that its data centers continuously drew almost 260 million watts — about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant — to run Google searches, YouTube views, Gmail messaging and display ads on all those services around the world.
Though the electricity figure may seem large, the company asserts that the world is using less energy as a result of the billions of operations carried out in Google data centers. Google says people should consider things like the amount of gasoline saved when someone conducts a Google search rather than, say, driving to the library. “They look big in the small context,” Urs Hoelzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, said in an interview.
Google says that people conduct over a billion searches a day and numerous other downloads and queries, and it calculates that the average energy consumption for a typical user is small, about 180 watt-hours a month, or the equivalent of running a 60-watt light bulb for three hours. The overall electricity figure includes all Google operations worldwide, including the energy required to run its campuses and office parks, he added.
While comparing different types of electricity loads is difficult, utility companies estimate that 260 million watts could power all of the homes in a sizable city — say, 100,000 to 200,000 homes.For years, Google maintained a wall of silence worthy of a government security agency on how much electricity the company used — a silence that experts speculated was used to cloak how quickly it was outstripping the competition in the scale and sophistication of its data centers."