The Greening of Search Engines

Call it a sign of the times, a cheap marketing ploy or both mixed together. Search engines are touting their environmental friendliness in many ways, vying for the hearts of users by tapping into their desire to save the world.

The latest ploy comes from Yahoo is trying to find the "Greenest City in America" with its Be a Better Planet initiative, which aims to find the most environmentally conscious city and reward it with a fleet of taxicabs. Cities earn points when their citizens ask and answer environmental questions on Yahoo Answers, conduct environmental searches on OneSearch, or take the "Green Pledge" on the new Yahoo Green mini-site.

To kick off the contest, Yahoo co-founder David Filo, Global Green CEO Matt Peterson, and actor Matt Dillon will make an appearance in New York City today, announcing the donation of a fleet of hybrid taxis to the city.

Google, no slouch in the environmentally friendly marketing department, has long touted its commitment to use solar energy to power its headquarters and datacenters. Its Summer of Green site launched last summer with environmentally friendly hotels and vacation spots highlighted on Google Maps.