Google has just published a study entitled “Google’s Green Computing: Efficiency at Scale” comparing traditional business email solutions with Gmail. The results? Gmail is “almost 80 times” more energy efficient than conventional in-house software. This takes into account all Google infrastructure necessary to support the service.

A report from the Official Google Blog explains:

“…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.”

To help put it all in perspective (kind of), Google offers the comparison presented in the graphic below showing one year of Gmail is comparable to drinking a bottle of wine, stuffing a letter inside, and throwing it in the ocean. Google also put YouTube to the test and discovered that 1 minute of video consumes approximately 0.0002 kWh of energy. Thus, 72 hours of video would be equivalent to one packaged and delivered DVD. 

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