Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Blackle Search

I was working with another web nut recently and he alerted me to an alternative to search engine, powered by "Google Custom Search", called "Blackle". When you visit the site you are presented with the standard Google layout, only the background is totally black. The reason behind the black background is it attempts to save energy every time you conduct a search. The reason it works is because by default your screen colour is black as an alternative to predominantly white backgrounds that website designers tend to favour. The site also reminds you every time that you use it the amount of energy saved to date, as well as reminding you that every bit of energy saved counts.

I understand that the reason that the majority of website backgrounds are white, is because when you print a page, it would obviously consume allot of printer ink if you had to print black pages with while text on them, rather than a white background with black text, so obviously this theory could not be used on a large amount of websites. However in the case of a search engine why not use a black background, as it is very rare that you want to print your search results out.

The theory that "Blackle" is based on is that "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's colour settings and desktop graphics, as well as the colour 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.

Because of the popularity of Google, if Google actually replaced the background of their search engine with a black background we would save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year. These figures are taken from a blog post titled "Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year".

The website was create by an Australian business called "Heap Media", who have created a number of other online products which are worth taking a look at. One of my other favourites is "Anonomi" which basically replaces an email address, on a "Contact Us" page, with a contact form that hides your contact email address. This prevent those spam bots from collecting you email address and can reduce the amount of spam you receive, by preventing your email address to getting on one of those nasty email lists.

There are also some interesting sites related to saving energy if you are interested in the subject, with one of the most popular blogs being

If anyone out there has any other interesting energy saving websites they would like alert readers off, please add as a comment to this post with a link as it would be greatly appreciated, because this is a topic I am quite interested in.