Google faces backlash after urging users to 'Go Paperless in 2013'

Google's decision to request its users to 'Go Paperless in 2013' as part of an ad campaign has been met with outcry from print groups, reports printweek.com.

The search giant is trying to encourage customers of its Google Drive online storage service to reduce their print usage as a means of saving time, money and trees. As featured in Google's log in screen, a tag reading 'Go Paperless in 2013' is used by several other online services who have signed up to the Paperless Coalition - a group of organisations urging consumers to live in a "paper-free world" 

Google chose to brandish the paperless tag despite millions of users signing up to Google Drive in order to store documents for use with poster printers, plotters and other wide format machines.  

As expected print groups around the world have had a few things to say about the matter, with little praise emerging from their statements.

In an open letter to Google, Printing Industries of America (PIA) chief executive Larry Page, chairman Eric Schmidt and chief executive Michael Makin acknowledged that all organisations should be doing their bit for the environment, but claimed singling out the print industry was not the right way to go about promoting an eco-friendly cause.

"How would your company feel if almost 1 million direct workers in the printing industry encouraged their families and friends to go "Google-Less in 2013," the trio asked.

The statement went on to highlight that 67 per cent of online searches were actually driven by messages distributed via offline methods.

Meanwhile UK group Two Sides, a promoter of sustainability of the print industry, said Google's own operation required 2.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity every year, which is enough power 207,000 homes for 12 months.   

The letter and press release went on to claim that while Google should be admired for its environmentally-friendly products and services, the case was just another example of a self-interested organisation looking to promote themselves through the mention of green statements.

According informationweek.com, other Paperless Coalition members include ScanSnap, Xero and HelloSign.


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