Google, the internet search engine giant whose service is powered by hundreds of thousands of servers, is lobbying the computer industry to improve the power efficiency of its products.
Simple changes to PC power supplies could save billions of dollars for industries with high computer use, the company told computer hardware developers yesterday, and Google's top engineers offered to share its secret in-house technology to help create an industry standard.
Power supplies to standard PCs and servers typically waste 30-40 per cent of their energy, but Google engineer Luiz Barroso told attendees at the Intel developers' conference in San Francisco that it had cut that waste to just 10 per cent.
Google estimates that if deployed in 100 million PCs running for an average of eight hours per day, its new standard would save 40 billion kilowatt-hours over three years, or more than $5bn at California's energy rates.
It might also enable Google to buy in more pre-built hardware, rather than relying on the in- house engineers which have built its network of computers from scratch. This has become increasingly expensive as the number of servers used by Google has mushroomed from 8,000 five years ago to an estimated 500,000 today.
"There are several hard technical problems surrounding power efficiency of computers, but we've found one that is actually not particularly challenging and could have a huge impact on the energy used by home computers and low-end servers." Barroso said.