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Google ends eco-search engine support

| Saturday April 26th, 2008 | 6 Comments

ecocho.jpgSydney-based Ecocho founder Tim Macdonald had an idea; build a search engine based on Google and Yahoo technology and use the ad revenue to plant two trees for every 1,000 searches, offsetting tons of carbon dioxide.
However, the practice of “compensating users for viewing ads or performing searches, or promise compensation to a third party for such behavior” is a violation of Google AdSense policy and Google decided to pull support of the site, on Earth Day no less. Macdonald claims Google is not enforcing its rules to other “green” search engines such as Blackle, though Blackle is not making the same claims.
Pablo has addressed the
effectiveness of Blackle in the past. And while stopping support for Ecocho on Earth Day may seem heartless, rules are rules. And besides, Google is addressing energy and carbon issues on a much larger scale. Google claims their data centers use half the energy of a similarly sized data center and that they are conducting energy audits and investing in carbon offsets. They made a big splash in November when they announced an R&D team was working to produce 1 gigawatt of renewable energy at a price cheaper than coal. They are giving grants to renewable energy companies like eSolar Inc. and Makani Power Inc. to meet this goal. Killing off smaller, seemingly well-intentioned search engines may make Google look monolithic and draconian, but Google is able to fund sustainability initiatives in ways Ecocho would never be able to. It’s not really about who is greener anyway; it all boils down to an untimely and unfortunate violation of policy.


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  • green man

    Hmm, I wonder who sets the policy.

  • Sales Tyson

    No great loss, these novelty search engines are getting kinda annoying. All they do is skim a little off the ad revenue that they get from their custom search engines (which you can build in about 20 minutes) and commit to planting some trees.

  • Dave Shires

    Sales – you’re right, but it’s still nice to give the searcher a choice as to where their click money goes. Either it goes into a mystery pocket, or some of it goes to something I know I’m happy about. So that’s ok with me.

  • Dima

    What’s this talk about “untimely and unfortunate violation of policy”??? Google agreed to it initially, didn’t it? Simply, Google wants all the ad revenue for itself and doesn’t want to share. Spare us that “Oh, Google is so green anyway”.

  • Earth018

    There are around 18 different versions of “black google” online. The best one I’ve found is http://www.cleanblack.com. Cleanblack is the only version that allows you to change the text colors of the google search results. Try it yourself by going to http://www.cleanblack.com/theme/

  • http://www.click4carbon.com AdeyM

    As an alternative try http://www.click4carbon.com
    Click4carbon is an environmentally conscious search engine which donates 50% of profits to forestation projects worldwide.
    It is also a Social Network. Their ECOmmunity is where you can make friends and discuss all things ‚Äògreen’.
    They have also developed a fantastic carbon calculator which allows you to compare your footprint against the country you live.
    You can also add the Footprint widget to your Facebook or MySpace profile and compare with your friends for a bit of fun.
    Give it a go – you’ve got nothing to lose!