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posted by Jamie on October 20, 2007

It turns out that Google doesn’t care about the environment. At least that’s what Heap Media implies with its website, Blackle, an environmentally conscious search engine with a black (not white) background said to reduce energy consumption.

Blackle reminds me of the kid who buys the same clothes and consciously adopts the same mannerisms as the cool kid, and then waits patiently at the cool kid’s side, admiring him, until the day comes that the cool kid’s guard is down, and the wicked little twerp can set into motion his plan to usurp the cool kid’s throne. Everything about Heap Media’s new search engine co-opts Google: the name, the design–the search engine is even powered by Google Custom Search! so there’s nothing innovative about it except for its defamatory claim, that is, if you believe it.

According to The Wall Street Journal and a recent test posted on Techlogg.com, Blackle may use less energy on older CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitors, but not on LCDs (liquid crystal display), which make up most of the monitors being produced in the world. And the energy being saved isn’t anywhere near what Blackle’s watt-hour counter indicates.

So easily deflated, the imitator is.

While Heap Media cannot guarantee the energy Blackle saves, it can guarantee it will gain exposure to its other brands when people go to check Blackle out. For businesses and organizations who “provide environmental products, services, information or actively [support] the environment,” Blackle Pages offer the opportunity to become a part of “a directory of environmentally friendly products, services and sites, giv[ing those who register] exposure to millions of environmentally conscious consumers from around the world.” Looks like searching this directory yields all listed in it right now, and there aren’t very many organizations registered yet.

Strangely, two links take us to sites related to food and calorie consumption, both of which appear on white screens. Calorifica, whose logo is reminiscent of Coca-Cola’s, provides nutritional information of foods: no recipes available, no information on meals, but if you type in “green bean” you’ll get an impressive list of green beans in different states–green, snapped, pickled, refried/canned, cooked/canned…all the way to “Bean, mung, dry, cooked, fat added in cooking”–and the nutritional value of each. And Mikibo is “making the world a fitter place.” Go here to sign up for a free exercise and weight management service. I’ve read the privacy policy, and it seems like you can sign up here without fear of your information being sold to a third party. Despite the white screens that undermine Heap Media’s dogmatism, this site offers a valuable service, since most online health sites want to sell you diet pills or plans and blink you to death with advertising.

One of Transit Antenna’s responsibilities is to bring the Truth to our audience, and now that my job is done, I have some more important things to google. And if I don’t find what I’m looking for, there’s always Wikipedia.

     
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