Google is doing WHAT?

Its motto is 'Don't do evil' -- but it looks like anything and everything else imaginable is pretty much fair game

Energy initiatives

Bill Weihl is the energy czar at Google charged with making the company a leading example of energy efficiency. Most buildings at Google's headquarters have a solar array that provides 30 per cent of peak power usage at the campus. The company also lets employees use hybrid cars for occasional short-term use -- they are located in a garage that is itself powered by a solar array.

"In the last year, we have been working with companies in the industry in and outside of technology to drive energy efficiency in PCs and servers," Weihl says. "We started an initiative with Intel and HP and others called the Climate Savers Initiative. Also Starbucks -- who provides a lot of the fuel that drives the tech industry. It is not a technology issue -- it is a demand issue."

"It costs more to get a PC or server that is energy-efficient; components have not been efficient," Weihl says. "It is a cost that pays beck within a year or two. For years, we talked about price performance and features. We really need to educate the industry and consumers that they should think about energy when they buy them."

Universal search

Anytime you search on, you are performing a "universal search," where the results are not just text links but a mix of Web sites, images, videos, blog entries and even audio. The underlying technology is how Google determines which results it presents and how it presents them. With universal search, Google continues to tweak algorithms and experiment with the search results. The goal, says Bailey, is to present balanced results based on the search term and move away from the heavy emphasis on only textual Web links that existed prior to the switch to universal search in May 2007.

"If you search for Martin Luther King, you might be thinking text, but we present relevant video results," says David Bailey, a Google senior software engineer for universal search. "We can look at the results and compare and contrast. Someone might be speculatively searching, but we put the 'non-Web' results at the top of the page. There might be blog posts or video podcasts. It is a good diversity play when we search everything speculatively. We know about the video, we have the thumbnails, we know the star rating, so we should present those results."

Rumored projects

Along with the confirmed projects already mentioned, there are also plenty of rumors about fantastic new programs at the US-based technology juggernaut. We asked Google to comment on some of the more prominent rumors and to confirm or deny its involvement.

Google is building data centers all over the world!

Read about it here.

Official response from Google:

"Fast, innovative products are crucial for our users and require significant computing power. As a result, Google invests heavily in technical facilities and has dozens of facilities around the world with many computers. However, for competitive reasons, we don't disclose exact numbers or locations of facilities or computers."

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John Brandon

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