If you were to do a quick search of alternative search engines to Google, you may find yourself drawn towards one in particular. Ecosia is a popular alternative choice for many. Though we may forget, there is an environmental cost to our online searches. This is where Ecosia comes in.
What is Ecosia?
In 2009, Ecosia joined the ranks of online search engines, but with a twist. With every search you make, the company uses the revenue generated to planting trees. This makes it a CO2 neutral platform. On average, it takes 45 searches before a single tree can be planted.
Users can keep an eye on how many searches they make. By the search box at the top of the page, you can see a little tree with a number below. That is how many searches you have made so far. On the homepage, you can also see how many total trees have been planted by all Ecosia users. Currently (Oct 2018), the total is standing at over 38 million trees!
So, does this mean that Google is Bad for the Environment?
As more of us are moving our computing to the cloud, we are becoming more aware of the environmental impact this has. If you’d like to see how much CO2 is released from Google, you can check out CO2GLE. This shows the real-time amount of CO2 produced through Google from the moment you visit the website.
It’s not surprising that the search engine has such an environmental impact. However, such a quick search isn’t something that encourages us to think about the pollution caused. CO2GLE certainly puts things into perspective.
How Ecosia Performs
At a Glance, Ecosia is very similar to Google. SERPs are delivered with blue links on a white background, green URLs appear next to them, and there are brief descriptions of each page. Much of the engine is powered by Bing, but you’d need to make a search and scroll through to the foot of the SERPs to see this. However, while Ecosia still uses Bing results and ads, it doesn’t provide as much in terms of rich SERPs. Despite this, many still turn to Ecosia for the impact they wish to have on the environment.
Is it Encourage Google to Clean up its Act?
Thanks to the likes of Ecosia, Google is more pressured to keep its environmental cost in line. Google has been carbon neutral for 12 years. In September, Google bought into renewable energy from 3 wind farms in Finland. The search engine believes that environmental concerns and sustainability are seen as core values. Their latest Environmental Report highlights the market-leading efficiency of Google data centres, claiming that, ‘on average, a Google data centre uses 50% less energy than a typical data centre.’
Google seems to be keen to improve its environmental impact since before Ecosia came along. We should applaud Google for their conscious efforts. However, we cannot dismiss the importance of competitors like Ecosia highlighting the environmental impact of searches.
Is Ecosia a Viable Competitor?
Ecosia cannot offer as an efficient experience than Google or Bing. However, to the untrained eye, the differences may not be so noticeable. When considering hard market share, Ecosia cannot compete. However, 7 million users are something the company cannot complain about. It certainly has some impact on everyday users.
Promoting the Collective Impact of Searches, Searchers and Search Engines
Ecosia succeeds in keeping users conscious of the environmental cost of data and digital activities. Google is improving their efficiency and is being more transparent about their environmental impact. However, those who use Google, are less aware of their own impact on the environment.
This could be the next step for Google. Perhaps they cannot plant a tree as such, there is still the chance for the search engine to make positive changes. Perhaps future searches could do some good for our environment as opposed to something negative.
Though some may be surprised that Ecosia is still standing strong after 10 years of existence, it is making a difference. Ecosia provides a functional tool to turn digital activity into a positive action. It can highlight the steps we should take to improve our footprints in a way that Google can’t.
Talk to Search and More
It’s great to see that there are other search engines making a positive impact on our carbon footprint. What’s better is that they are encouraging other engines such as Google to make drastic changes too. It’s safe to say that we are quite fond of Google, so we want to help put you to the top of their pages. To find out more about how we can help your business succeed online, get in touch.