back to article Google says that YouTube vid can wait if it saves on energy

Google has run a pilot to cut datacenter power consumption during periods of peak demand. This is done by shifting some non-urgent compute tasks to other times or different locations, the company said in a blog post. The move builds on the demand response support in Google's carbon-intelligent computing platform developed for …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Spy power

    How many gigawatts are used for ad tracking, ad serving, and syncing telemetry with the GApps suite on Android phones? Video requires a moment of expensive preprocessing, and maybe some light remuxing for variable bandwidth playback, but it's nothing compared to realtime big-data processing.

    Just think about the tiny end of things: the cellphone. The GApps suite seems to use consume 2 to 5 Wh a day if its background data and background power are not restricted. Bump that up to 5 to 10 Wh a day if there's no ad blocker. If there are about 3 billion active Android phones, that's ballpark 20 GWh a day globally consumed recharging phones for power used by Google. Imagine what the servers use.

    Everyone should do their part to live a more green lifestyle. Upgrade or re-purpose old servers that consume excessive power. Write more efficient code. Block all of Google's ads and personal data harvesting.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Spy power

      How many gigawatts are used for ad tracking, ad serving, and syncing telemetry with the GApps suite on Android phones?

      Shhush... there is no need to bring it up.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Spy power

      Nailed it.

      But the subtitle got one thing right: there is NOTHING on YouTube I actually NEED.

      Spy THAT, YouTube.

      1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

        Re: Spy power

        So I don't NEED to look at Noels Retro Lab, Adrian's Digital Basement, Squatch254, Sydney Watson, I Do Cars, Sabine Hossenfelder, etc., et al on YouTube but I find it highly entertaining and educational. I'm not someone who watches sport – I find rather that mindless. (Used to watch Simon Whistler quite a bit as well until his channels started becoming a swearing and shouting excercise, at which point I tuned out).

  2. ecofeco Silver badge

    I have an idea for savings!

    How about not collecting data on which hand I use to my wipe my arse every second of the day?

    Crazy idea, I know! But it just might work!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have an idea for savings!

      I never thought of that. I have a Fitbit which means google actually does know which hand I wipe my arse with. It's a good job it's not my dominant hand and that's all I'll say as that would be too much information. Though that actually gives me a good idea for a new sort of tracker that could time and score you. What to call it though?

      1. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

        Re: I have an idea for savings!

        The Fapbit?

        I'll show myself out.

    2. garwhale Bronze badge

      Re: I have an idea for savings!

      Perhaps you need ads for medication for your condition? Most people don't spend so much time on arse wiping ...

  3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    80 minutes?

    A diesel genny will keep going for as long as you keep chucking the dead dinosaurs in the tank.

    1. PRR Silver badge

      Re: 80 minutes?

      > 80 minutes? .... A diesel genny will keep going for as long as you keep chucking the dead dinosaurs in the tank.

      When a major snow storm hit the state, lines down, my school ran for about 36 hours and then the main website went down as the tanks ran dry. They had assumed they could call the oil dealer and get another load quickly. In a state that had oil heat in many homes and businesses and snow so deep trucks were stuck, first priority went to hospitals and old folks without heat. Since we also expected to get work-notification via a website, plans were spoiled. To be fair, it was a truly once a decade storm.

      1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: 80 minutes?

        As long as you have a supply of dead dinosaurs, yes.

        It turns out you actually need an agreement with a fuel supplier for emergency deliveries. Arranging one at the point when you need the delivery is a bit like buying medical insurance after an accident. Of course, everybody knows this.

        Relevant war story I have related before: The Alfasud, the emergency generator, and the diesel barrel.

        There's a site I know of that is part of 'Critical National Infrastructure'. I'm not going to say which country. The diesel tank is under the car park. All of the car park. There's enough fuel there for a month or so of operation.

        1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Re: 80 minutes?

          Genny-stopping bio-sludge forms in Diesel tanks. How, and how often, do they clean this out of the giant under-the-entire-carpark Diesel tank?

          1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

            Re: 80 minutes?

            I wrote a reply to this, and I must have pressed Preview twice, rather than Preview-Submit, and it has vanished into the ether. Which is irritating.

            The short answer is, I wondered that too, but unfortunately after the tour. To be fair, the guys giving the courtesy tour didn't say it was a single tank - they just said the storage was under the car park (which was large), so it could conceivably have been multiple tanks with some means of transferring diesel between them allowing you periodically to empty one and clean it before moving on to the next. There were multiple large generators in the machine hall with a schedule of being started and run for a period of time to make sure they worked when needed. It struck me as a rather professional operation, and I'm sure they had some way of keeping the fuel 'sweet'. Of course, I can't verify they had the reserves they claimed: I didn't have my audit hat on at the time, but they didn't have any particular reason to lie or exaggerate.

            As well as the claimed fuel reserves, they had independent connections to more than one area of that country's equivalent of the National Grid.

            Sorry to be so vague. I'd be interested in the mechanics/process too, but it's not something I could find out now - it was a while (rather too many years than I like to remember) ago. I expect nuclear power stations have similar issues. Fukushima had fossil-fuelled backup generators that were swamped by the tsunami, but I'd expect them to have had enough fuel to keep them going through shutdown and provide adequate cooling for a reasonable period afterwards. Since you don't tend to use it day to day, they must have some method of fossil-fuel management to prevent things like sludging. It's not my area of expertise, and it'd be great if someone commented here from actual knowledge. I know fuel tank biocides are available commercially (ask a boat owner) - looking at an MSDS sheet for one shows it contains 3,3'-methylenebis[5-methyloxazolidine] which German Wikipedia has details for (I used Mozilla Firefox's built in translation). I'm sure there are plenty of other effective chemicals that could be used.


        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: 80 minutes?

          Impressive if the car park holds 100's of cars. Not so much if it's just 3 or 4!

        3. garwhale Bronze badge

          Re: 80 minutes?

          Pity the nuclear power plant in Fukushima was not so provisioned - could have saved $ billions, face and much personal trauma.

        4. PRR Silver badge

          Re: 80 minutes?

          > you actually need an agreement with a fuel supplier for emergency deliveries

          Yeah, but.... this was the kind of snow-smack where any contract is broken by force majeure. In the law, the concept of an act of God, an event for which no party can be held accountable, such as a hurricane or a tornado. That mid-Atlantic state got snow, but hardly ever so much. Certainly no oil-dealer faced with stuck trucks and freezing customers would prioritize a university server building. (And very likely UN-plowed, but thank goodness I was not there for that storm.)

          The Alfasud is a nice touch. Did the oil-seep slow down the rust?

    2. ITMA Silver badge

      Re: 80 minutes?

      "...keep chucking the dead dinosaurs in the tank."

      Will it run on members of the Houe of Lords?

      They sound like they fit the criteria. ;)

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: 80 minutes?

      80 minutes probably covers them for the vast majority of outages. I'd imagine MS have data on their own genny usage and have costed the battery to be big enough that the savings on genny and diesel usage pays for the battery, but the genny is still there, ready to kick in for those rare few outages at the wrong end of the curve that stretch beyond the battery capacity.

      Let's just hope someone has pointed out to the beancounters that diesel has a limited shelf0life and must be replaced even if not used, every now and then.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Google's job here...

    ...if there is a need for hospitals and so on to get electricity, the local government should just pull the plug on Google's servers.

    Google doesn't get to choose when it deigns to grant other people to get the electricity they need.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Not Google's job here...

      In the UK at least, large consumer of energy are usually on contracts whereby they get a discount on their bill in exchange for the energy supplier being able to cut them off or enforce reduced consumption under condition of heavy load.

      And while I see your point re. Google, it could depend on what the data centre provides. Just pulling the plug might have much further reaching effects than most people imagine if it's a regional "cloud" supplier for Google Docs etc. That might be cutting off business resources over a multi-State or, in the EU, multi-country customer base, possibly even including those providing emergency or disaster services. We already know from various headlines that Google cloud, AWS and O365 are not as resilient as they would have us believe but still business and government use the services.

    2. catprog

      Re: Not Google's job here...

      The utility company says to Google "we can provide 3 of the 4GW you need to run full power. Can you reduce the consumption so we don't need to pull the plug on you"

      Google then goes down to their critical computing needs.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "adding new words to Google Translate"

    Sure encoding video is compute intensive but adding new words to Google Translate? How often are new words added and how much power is that it really going to save?

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      But they're talking about Welsh...

  6. dmedin

    'YouTube video can wait if the NHS needs your power'

    Spoken like a good and true little green communist goody two-shoes.

    Always remember that we exist for the NHS, not the other way around.

    I can't wait until the Reg starts cheerleading for personal carbon allowances, too. Just like all the other so-called freedom lovers (Richard Stallman loves the idea of forcing people to take experiment injections against their will), it turns out that the technocratic types do actually want to live under a system of severely curtailed liberty slash dictatorship - just so long as it's justified by a form of scientism that they believe in.

    Face it: you're the religious puritan fanatics of the 21st century, imposing scarcity and pain on others in a world full of plenty simply because you hate humanity.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Whatever you're smoking, I think you need to stop.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I may be one of the deep-state George Soros lizard people, but even I want you to get help:

      -- Anonymous, but THEY KNOW WHO I AM!

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