Currently available by invitation only, Google's Knol tool is for experts wishing to share "units of knowledge" online. Posted on Google's Blog and first reported on SearchEngineWatch Forum and Google Blogoscoped Form, Knol invites readers to "voice your opinion, write your own knol" and includes elements like by lines, wikis, article ratings, author rankings, views, edits, peer reviews, comments, resources, book listings, references as well as an area for reader comments. Knol includes options to use licensed images from sources like Flickr and ads by Google. Google says they will not edit or bless content posted by Knols.
"Is Google getting into the electricity business?" That is the question on people's mind since Google announced their new renewable energy sources initiative. Fact is, Google has lots of experience in finding new and innovative ways of using energy more efficiently. When you consider it takes about 700 machines to provide search engine results for one search query, that there are billions of search queries per day and that in addition, all of those machines must be kept cool 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year, it's obvious that search engine data centers require enormous amounts of electricity. According to one study, servers and their infrastructure world-wide use more than 45 billion kilowatt hours at a cost of over $7.2 billion per year. That is the same amount of electricity used to power the state of Mississippi in 2005.
Google currently uses a number of power-saving technologies at it's facilities ranging from evaporative cooling to high-efficiency lighting, to it's fleet of Toyota Prius automobiles, not to mention the almost 10,000 solar panels covering the roofs at Google's Mt. View, CA headquarters affectionately known as "the GooglePlex". Google's data center, currently under construction in the Netherlands will be powered in part by wind and Google already has at least one data center in The Dales, OR which is powered in part by hydroelectric power from the Columbia River. Another of Google data center located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Georgia is guaranteed a minimum flow of 600cfs 24 hours per day by Federal Law. In addition to making data centers more energy efficient in 2007, Google joined Intel in the Climate Savers Computing Initiative to advocate more energy efficient computing infrastructures.