Tuesday, October 09, 2007


blackle, revised

i posted a short note about www.blackle.com yesterday, and very quickly got a comment from someone stating that the website is not valid, and in fact uses more energy than google.

a quick search returned articles on techlogg that support the commenter's statements, as well as several other blogs that involved less evidence (but plenty of venom) against the blackle claims..

the blackle site's spiel is below, but basically the site claims to save energy by using a black background for their search engine than a white background.

here's a quote from the techlogg article, which tested 27 monitors for power consumption using google and using blackle:

There’s no argument that on CRT monitors, Blackle does reduce the power consumption but it’s not by the 15-watts claimed. We tested the four CRT monitors we could get our hands on and found that only one unit, an older 22-inch Compaq, showed the 15-watts or more power differential.

But with the LCD monitor market penetration worldwide now beyond 75%, it’s the LCD monitor power consumption that’s just as, if not more, important.

The most interesting aspect we found was that of the LCD monitors we tested of size 22-inches or less, all showed an increase in power consumption using Blackle. Beyond the 22-inch mark however, five of the six models showed a fractional decrease in power consumption when using Blackle, except the ViewSonic VX2835wm, which showed a 2.2-watt increase.

For the five that dropped their power consumption, the average drop was 3.16-watts, again, not the 15-watts being suggested.

But for the sake of fairness, here’s what we suggest – if you’re using a CRT monitor, you can save some power by using Blackle however it won’t be as much as its supporters will have you believe. We still think it’s around half.

and here are the words from http://www.blackle.com/...

Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen."
Roberson et al, 2002

In January 2007 a blog post titled
Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

We believe that there is value in the concept because even if the energy savings are small, they all add up. Secondly we feel that seeing Blackle every time we load our web browser reminds us that we need to keep taking small steps to save energy.

How can you help?

We encourage you to set Blackle as your home page (
set ). This way every time you load your Internet browser you will save a little bit of energy. Remember every bit counts! You will also be reminded about the need to save energy each time you see the Blackle page load.

Help us spread the word about Blackle by telling your friends and family to set it as their home page. If you have a blog then give us a mention. Or put the following text in your email signature: "Blackle.com - Saving energy one search at a time".

It's simply not true. Tell all your freinds to not use Blackle. Believe it or not, it uses more power on an LCD monitor than does Google. We used a Watt Meter to test this. Please click on the link, then click the view video button to see the results.

This is important. We need to correct this myth.
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