From The New York Times - Business Day - Technology
By JAMES GLANZ
Published: September 8, 2011
Google released what was once among its most closely guarded secrets on Thursday: how much electricity its enormous computing facilities consume.
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.