Putting the Green in search – GreenRank

I recently noticed an advert for a competition Bing was running in conjunction with Gnomdex called ‘Will Code for Green’ and it inspired me to think of an innovative solution that could leverage the Bing Search API.

After literally 42 seconds of deep musing I arrived at a possible solution, that for now, could be called ‘GreenRank‘. The green rank would consist of an additional icon appended to your search results that would indicate how ‘green’ a website is. This icon would be similar to Googles new ‘Comment, Promote, Remove’ icons that follow the ‘Cached – Similar’ text at the end of a search result description. Simple toxic, neutral and green images would easily convey how ‘green’ a website was before the user clicked on it.
Picture the example Bing Search Results below:

  • Site 1 [Toxic to Environment icon]
  • Site 2 [Green icon]
  • Site 3 [Neutral icon]
  • etc..

The green ranking could be automatically determined using a weighted combination of factors that would indicate the data storage and network traffic overheads of the site. Large, poorly optimised sites waste energy and money. The factors to determine the greenrank could include;

  • Avg KB size of page. (Bigger = bad)
  • Use of caching. (Caching = good)
  • Use of Ajax. (More = good)
  • Image Optimisation. (High= good)
  • etc…

The real opportunity (and threat) to websites would be whether or not a green rank would influence how a user interacts with search results. Imagine Google or Bing allowed users to assess how green their browsing habits were… Every time a user clicked a toxic link their ‘Green Browsing’ score would take a negative hit, and vice versa. Green conscious browsers may even filter search results to exclude toxic results and the risk that their green browsing score would be tarnished.

So, do you think that greenrank could change affect search results the same way MPG changed car buying, leasing and renting decisions. Would environmentally conscious users click on the ‘gas guzzling, smog emitting’ link at the top of the page or the ‘greener and sunny’ second link?

SUV equivalent sites beware…

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