Google talks green at Google I/O 2021

Google has grown far beyond a simple tool used as a search engine – it’s a leading tech company with bold sustainable ambitions.

Google I/O 2021, short for Google ‘Innnovation in the Open’, is a special developer conference hosted by Google. Traditionally held in-person in California, Google opted for an online-only conference this year, having cancelled last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For sure, Google was back in full force as Google I/O 2021, unveiling what it has been doing to innovate in the field of sustainable technology while we’ve been under lockdown. For those with any interest in the cutting edge of this field, they were certainly in for a treat at Google I/O 2021.

Sustainability has truly been a core value since our founding over 20 years ago. We believe that every business has both the opportunity and the obligation to protect our planet… But also our goal is bigger than that. It’s about truly enabling everyone – businesses, policymakers, and consumers – to live and create a more sustainable world together.

– Kate Brandt, Google Sustainability Officer, speaking to imasons.org

Great strides in sustainability

As businesses go, Google has more than done its bit to help the planet over the past few decades. During Google I/O 2021, the Google Keynote speech was noted by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc., who devoted the final segment of his address on a matter close to those working at Google.

Mr Pichai tracked Google’s well-defined moves towards sustainability, becoming the first major company to go carbon-neutral as long ago as 2007, the year Apple sold its first iPhones. Such a story gives you an idea about how young a concept carbon neutrality is: it is barely as old as some of the first smartphones, at least as an achievable business objective.

Google has also become the first major company to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy usage, something accomplished as recently as 2017. By 2020, Mr Pichai claimed Google had eliminated its entire carbon legacy, but it plans to go even further by 2030, by which time it intends to operate on carbon-free energy 24/7. That means each office and data centre will draw on sources of energy with no trace of carbon emissions, even for a single second.

Looking to the future

Carbon-free operations are easy to achieve in some parts of the world, but it takes time to build up the infrastructure for a single business to be able to ensure its entire network is sustainable at every waking moment.

Computing is a major part of the work Google does behind the scenes, and this is high energy-intensive work, crunching the numbers to keep the wheels turning. To help Google meet the ambition of a carbon-free business infrastructure by 2030, it has been developing what it dubs a ‘Carbon-Intelligent Computing Platform.’

This platform is design to shift the timing of computing tasks so that they coincide with the times of day that clean power sources are most available. Intelligent ideas such as these make the greatest use of the green energy Google already has at its disposal. Lockdown looks like it has proven to be fruitful time for the geniuses at this business to knock heads together and have something truly impressive to show, which we look forward to seeing put into action over the coming decade.

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