Tag Archives: PDF

How our cloud does more with less

We’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of energy our services use. In fact, to provide you with Google products for a month—not just search, but Google+, Gmail, YouTube and everything else we have to offer—our servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours. And, because we’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, even that small amount of energy is offset completely, so the carbon footprint of your life on Google is zero.

We’ve learned a lot in the process of reducing our environmental impact, so we’ve added a new section called “The Big Picture” to our Google Green site with numbers on our annual energy use and carbon footprint.

We started the process of getting to zero by making sure our operations use as little energy as possible. For the last decade, energy use has been an obsession. We’ve designed and built some of the most efficient servers and data centers in the world—using half the electricity of a typical data center. Our newest facility in Hamina, Finland, opening this weekend, uses a unique seawater cooling system that requires very little electricity.

Whenever possible, we use renewable energy. We have a large solar panel installation at our Mountain View campus, and we’ve purchased the output of two wind farms to power our data centers. For the greenhouse gas emissions we can’t eliminate, we purchase high-quality carbon offsets.

But we’re not stopping there. By investing hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy projects and companies, we’re helping to create 1.7 GW of renewable power. That’s the same amount of energy used to power over 350,000 homes, and far more than what our operations consume.

Finally, our products can help people reduce their own carbon footprints. The study (PDF) we released yesterday on Gmail is just one example of how cloud-based services can be much more energy efficient than locally hosted services helping businesses cut their electricity bills.

Visit our Google Green site to find out more.

Gmail: It’s cooler in the cloud

(Cross-posted on Gmail, Green and Enterprise blogs)

Cloud computing is secure, simple, keeps you productive and saves you money. But the cloud can also save energy. A recent report by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and Verdantix estimates that cloud computing has the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by millions of metric tons. And Jonathan Koomey, a consulting professor at Stanford who has led several studies on data center energy use, has written that for many enterprises, the cloud “is significantly more energy efficient than using in-house data centers.”

Because we’re committed to sustainability, we sharpened our pencils and looked at our own services to see how they stack up against the alternatives.

We compared Gmail to the traditional enterprise email solutions it’s replaced for more than 4 million businesses. The results were clear: switching to Gmail can be almost 80 times more energy efficient (PDF) than running in-house email. This is because cloud-based services are typically housed in highly efficient data centers that operate at higher server utilization rates and use hardware and software that’s built specifically for the services they provide—conditions that small businesses are rarely able to create on their own.

An illustration of inefficient server utilization by smaller companies compared to efficient utilization in the cloud.

If you’re more of a romantic than a businessperson, think of it this way: It takes more energy to send a message in a bottle than it does to use Gmail for a year, as long as you count (PDF) the energy used to make the bottle and the wine you drank.

We ran a similar calculation for YouTube and the results are even more striking: the servers needed to play one minute of YouTube consume about 0.0002 kWh of energy. To put that in perspective, it takes about eight seconds for the human body to burn off that same amount. You’d have to watch YouTube for three straight days for our servers to consume the amount of energy required to manufacture, package and ship a single DVD.

In calculating these numbers, we included the energy used by all the Google infrastructure supporting Gmail and YouTube. Of course, your own laptop or phone also consumes energy while you’re accessing Google, so it’s important to choose an efficient model.

There’s still a lot to learn about the global impacts of cloud computing, but one thing we can say with certainty: bit for bit, email for email, and video for video, it’s more efficient in the cloud.

Happy third birthday, Chrome!

It’s that time of the year again for the Chrome team, when we pause on our anniversary to reflect on the amazing life and times of the web. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three years since we launched our open source web browser, Chrome.

In that time, the web community has continued to inspire us, bringing the power of the web into all kinds of apps and experiences, with all modern browsers making great strides in speed, simplicity and security. To pay homage to the goodness of the web, we’ve put together an interactive infographic, built in HTML5, which details the evolution of major web technologies and browsers:

(With thanks to our friends at Hyperakt, Vizzuality, mgmt design and GOOD)

In our third year, we’ve also brought Chrome’s principles of speed, simplicity and security to a new model of computing: the Chromebook. The Chromebook is pure Chrome—a computer built for everything you ever need to do on the web while doing away with all the usual annoyances of an old, slow PC.

Here’s a quick fly-by through the some of the highlights of the past 12 months on the Chrome platform:

Faster and faster

  • We kick off the Year of the Rabbit with a new compilation infrastructure for the V8 JavaScript engine, codenamed “Crankshaft,” which improves JavaScript performance by up to 66 percent.
  • Chrome’s new settings interface helps you find the right settings quickly with an integrated search box. It also provides direct links to each settings page, which can be copied and pasted for easy troubleshooting.
  • The omnibox is improved to better suggest partial matches for webpage titles and URLs.
  • You can optionally enable Chrome Instant, which shows relevant content in the browser window as you type, before you press Enter.
  • Chrome’s built-in prerendering technology enables sites to build even faster experiences for their users—such as Instant Pages in Google search, which in some cases makes search results appear to load almost instantly.

Simpler and more accessible

  • Chrome supports many popular screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver to help visually impaired people better experience the web.
  • Print Preview, a popular feature request, uses Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer to display the preview, and enables you to save any webpage as a convenient PDF file using the “Print to PDF” option.
  • Chrome’s icon takes on a simpler look to embody the Chrome spirit, since Chrome is all about making your web experience quicker, lighter and easier for all.

An even more secure platform

  • Our integrated and sandboxed PDF viewer enables you to view PDF files on the web without installing additional software. Furthermore, we built an additional layer of security around the PDF viewer called a “sandbox” to help protect you from security attacks that are targeted at PDF files.
  • Adobe Flash Player is sandboxed on Windows, further protecting you from security attacks and malware targeted at Flash content on the web.
  • Chrome warns you before downloading some types of malicious files with enhanced Safe Browsing technology. In order to help protect privacy, malicious content is detected without Chrome or Google ever having to know about the URLs that you visit or the files you download.
  • To provide greater transparency and control over the data that websites store on your computers, Chrome lets you delete Local Shared Objects created by Adobe Flash Player using the browser’s built-in setting dialogs.

Wowzah, the modern web!

  • The Chrome Web Store is an open marketplace where you can search for and discover web applications, both free and paid, along with ratings and reviews. Developers can add in-app payments to their apps for a flat 5 percent transaction fee.
  • Chrome supports WebGL, which brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser with no additional software needed. For a taste of what WebGL can do, check out “3 Dreams of Black,” a 3D music experience for the web browser.
  • Chrome’s support for the HTML speech input API enables developers to give web apps the ability to transcribe your voice into text. Try it out on www.google.com by clicking on the microphone icon in the search box.
  • Hardware-accelerated 3D CSS enables snazzier experiences in webpages and apps which use 3D effects.

Delivering a new, simpler model for computing

  • Chrome is enterprise ready, with an MSI installer and support for managed group policies. Many organizations such as Vanguard and Procter & Gamble have successfully deployed Chrome to thousands of users in an enterprise setting.
  • As of this past July, Chromebooks are now available for purchase in eight countries—the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and South Korea. And just like Chrome, the Chromebook always keeps getting better. When you turn your Chromebook on, it updates itself automatically: you get the latest and greatest version of the operating system without having to think about it.

There’s more to come. Keep an eye on the Chrome blog to hear about new features and performance improvements as we continue to ship stable channel updates every six weeks. As always, on both Chrome and Chromebooks you’ll be automatically updated to the new versions as soon as they’re released.