CHOICE membership

'Climate Friendly' Browsers & Internet Search Companies

And they get their search algorithm and data from Microsoft Bing and Yahoo!. They are just a front interface to two other REAL search platforms.
If you feel all comfy because a search engine organization plants trees, then go for it.

I don’t know if there is really such a thing. Every search uses electricity at the user and the server end. While each search may use a miniscule amount of power (it is estimated a Google search uses 0.0003 kWh at the server end), but millions or billions of searches the electricity use becomes substantial.

It could be greenwashing.

1 Like

You have an objection to planting trees?
How about comparatively friendly, then?


I prefer marketing spiel to be free of greenwashing. I refer back to @phb for that term.
Who would have thought it would come up in search engine choices.

It costs nothing to give it a go, and it has a proper search engine behind it.

The web monetises everything. In this instance the upfront purpose is to turn that value back into environmental outcomes. Is there anything wrong with that? Wikipedia is happy to comment.

DDG according to other sources is a better choice for privacy. Ecosia provides some privacy options which the user needs to set.

1 Like

It might not be “green washing”. It’s a double edged sword that is easy to misuse.

  • There are business that choose to target and devalue competition or alternatives who have genuine environmental values.

  • And there are businesses that wrap themselves in environmental puffery, where there is no real environmental value.

Ecosia make their own statements re energy sources, consumption and financial operations. These include PV sourced generation. Per @paul_b.d link to Ecosia.

Google claims it is carbon neutral. It’s been achieved principally by purchasing carbon offsets. Google also recognises offsets are a finite resource and not a sustainable solution. How it’s profits are directed is also a different discussion.

I hadnt really paid much attention to Ecosia, but now its been brought up here, I have diiscovered that I can choose it to be the default search engine in iOS Safari, so I’m giving it a trial. (I usually use Duckduckgo, which I have been doing pretty much since it began)

1 Like

And it could also be that you did no research before you posted that.

Unfortunately, Ecosia is not a public company, or has the same level of scrutiny such as auditing and regulation that is required for public companies. All one has to go on is the word of those who run Ecosia.

They claim that they plant trees. If their claims are correct, so do many other companies such as mining, infrastructure, retail etc companies. This is not unique but has been capitalised by their marketing team.

While I am not a great fan if Google, in 2007, Google became the first major company to become carbon neutral…just like Ecosia claims they are likewise.

While Ecosia business may be claim to be carbon neutral, the backend search engines it uses isn’t. Bing search engine at the back end which use 44% green power (around 56% non-renewable energy) compared to Google’s 100%. While their business claims to be ‘green’, they do have opportunity to be far greener by changing companies they uses to support their services. While their claims appear great on face value, I am dubious of their environmental credentials which is why I believe that it potentially falls into greenwashing.

This website also sheds a perspective on their claims:

Microsoft claims all of it’s businesses globally have been Carbon neutral since 2014:

Assuming Bing is still part of Microsoft?

If it’s a reference from Quora, in this instance, it is another web forum that is simply sharing a range of personal opinions. Quora also knows if Google can be trusted, Right? It’s query says depending on whom is posting, Google is more trust worthy than the local postal service, or should never be trusted.

Microsoft indicates that they are ‘carbon neutral’ and not net carbon zero. To achieve their carbon neutral status, they buy carbon credits.

This is why some companies invest in renewable energy rather than buying credits or make payments (or planting trees) as it replaces the carbon emissions which would otherwise have been emitted from their operations.

The 44% green power still stacks up in the carbon neutral scenario, and they make payments for their emissions from the 56%.

Making claims about eco-credentials needs to be supported by independent audits or assessments, rather than relying on what a marketing team indicates. With a private company that doesn’t provide independent information other than that published on their own website, it is difficult to determine if the claims are genuine or greenwashing.

As Gizmodo related according to Google, it too offsets it’s, non green powered operations globally. There is no percentage quoted, so perhaps it too needs more objectivity.

To be fair, Google is attempting to move away from offsets with its next big undertaking of cleaning up its power supply. Right now, the company says they’re neutralizing the carbon footprint of its total energy usage by buying renewable energy elsewhere, neutralizing its own use of fossil-based power in places where it isn’t running on renewables. By 2030, it aims to change that by actually running on 100% carbon-free power sources.

I consider that offsetting. Although what it does with that extra green power it can’t obviously consume! It still needs to be used somewhere.

I’m happy to accept Ecosia on face value as an alternative internet search provider. Is it evil, wicked or intent on ripping users off? Google and others have equally a vested interest in not fostering alternatives. And we all know what Google’s attitude towards consumers is. Put paying customers first, take more than you offer in return? If Ecosia is not delivering on it’s green credentials the evidence is lacking. Really another topic.

There is no need to discuss any further.
As the initial post said - It may be worth a look for some. No one is insisting it is the perfect product for @mark_m or anyone else. I’ve an open mind and would recommend DDG plus a VPN for anyone worried about privacy. If looking forward for ways to encourage environmental improvement is not important, we can all make choices.

I am too. But I wouldn’t be selecting necessarily on its eco-claims thinking that it is better on this basis. If it performs just as well as other available search engines and its privacy is rock solid, then it is another one to consider.

Woah there. As someone who occasionally fixes Wikipedia, it does not ‘comment’ - it either provides information based upon reliable secondary sources (primary sources are very much frowned upon) or devolves into name-calling and edit wars. (There is a separate ‘Talk’ page per Wikipedia entry - which will largely tell you how contentious that entry is.)

The Ecosia page has apparently been somewhat controversial from time to time - including for its use of primary sources.

This claim was removed from Wikipedia, as it was only from a primary source (the company’s website).

Here endeth today’s Wikipedia lesson.


They need an independent audit of their claims or it is like trusting a scammer to not scam you…


I’ve switched back to DDG after Ecosia decided my ad blocker was not for them. I understand the rationale, but I don’t want to see advertising if I can avoid it.


What about all the bargains you are missing out on?


ROFL! I go to Ozbargain instead :slight_smile:

1 Like


The energy cost in running a search engine are probably two things:

  • Building the search index. It’s often quoted that Google keeps the internet in RAM. (RAM meaning the very-fast storage in your computer that it looses if the computer shuts down).
    This is so it can constantly update the data models that power it’s search algorithms. And obviously it has to crawl accross the internet to get that data.
  • The resources used by 100s of engineers, and manufacturers that build all the parts nessasary to make Google exist in the first place.

It’s kinda like the issue with Fuel saving cars. Half the carbon emmissions of a new car are made by the manufacturing process.