Electrolux Now Helps Clean Our Virtual Home
World Wide Vac helps clean up email clutter and aims to reduce CO2 emissions at the same time
Littering and hoarding are such common real-world problems that they have reality shows based both on people with the problem and the folks responsible to solve it, but online clutter, trash and hoarding can be just as destructive and environmentally unfriendly.
The Internet is infinite — growing at a pace faster than we are filling it — but maintaining that space releases as much CO2 into the atmosphere as the entire aviation industry each year. Although some of that emission is from “mission critical” tasks like business communication, online banking and “Liking” your grandmother’s post on Facebook, much of it is taken up just in storing emails, images and archive files nobody uses.
Electrolux — that’s right, the vacuum people — have already committed to reducing their own CO2 emissions by 50% and have released a product to help you reduce yours. The World Wide Vac is a vacuum cleaner for the digital age, an app designed to help people clear out their clouds and reduce the carbon footprint of their digital space. The app is currently focused on Gmail accounts, with plans for expansion in the coming year. Its process follows four steps:
- Connect your Gmail account to the World Wide Vac widget. It will access your account for purpose of the cleaning, but neither stores nor shares your personal information.
- Analyzes your inbox to identify junk, irrelevant and expired emails.
- Cleans your emails on one of several levels.
- Sends you a customized calculation of the CO2 emission reduction your cleanup produced.
Like the Electrolux vacuums of old, the World Wide Vac has multiple cleaning levels: S M and L. S-level cleaning targets unread social and promotional emails. M adds any unread emails older than three years not sent by your personal contacts or yourself. L works like M, but includes those sent by personal contacts. For all three levels, you can choose to delete the targeted emails directly, or to move them to your trash folder.
Since your computer is the same size regardless of how much data you have online, awareness and concern over data storage pollution is not at the top of most peoples’ priority list. It’s possible the World Wide Vac will both raise awareness and encourage us to do something about it.