Skip to main content

Save the planet one query at a time with Ecosia: the search engine that plants trees

Unhappy with the amount of money Google is making off of your searches? How about a search engine that promises to plant trees every time you search

That’s the idea behind Ecosia, an eco-friendly search engine that has vowed to spend its extra revenue on planting trees in Africa and elsewhere. It’s no small amount either: about 80 percent of the search engine’s revenue ends up being donated (about $50,000-80,000 per month) and the company has planted over three million trees since it launched six years ago — or about one tree every 12 seconds.

“The good cause we support could be something other than tree planting, but we’ve determined planting trees as a way of helping the environment and the people,” founder and CEO Christian Kroll told Digital Trends in an interview.

Ecosia is the brainchild of Kroll, who first launched the site back in 2009 after Kroll’s travels through Asia and South America. Originally Ecosia funded NGO projects in Nepal while Kroll spent time in the country, but the lack of stable Internet or electricity in the country caused him to scrap the idea. The site returned after Kroll’s time in South America, where he learned more about deforestation and its link to climate change.

“I combined my idea for a charitable search approach with tree planting,” he explains. “Ever since, Ecosia has supported different reforestation projects with its search ad revenue.”

Search results are powered by Bing, although the site provides a Google search button so that its users can compare search results. Ad revenues come through its exclusive partnership with Microsoft’s Bing Ads service. In the end, it’s a simple way to help the environment doing something millions of us do on a daily basis.

“I believe in the power of social business and smart tools like, for example, a tree planting search engine,” Kroll says. “We think that the future belongs to products that allow users to cater to their own needs and simultaneously do good without any additional costs or effort, simply by capitalizing on a daily habit.”

If saving the planet one query at a time sounds like something you’d like to do, head over to Ecosia.com to check it out, or just install the Chrome extension to make it your default search engine.

Editors' Recommendations

Ed Oswald
For fifteen years, Ed has written about the latest and greatest in gadgets and technology trends. At Digital Trends, he's…
Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards
Digital Trends CES 2023 Tech For Change Award Winners Feature

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most:

Samsung's Relumino Mode
Across the globe, roughly 300 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, and generally speaking, most TVs don’t take that into account. So in an effort to make television more accessible and enjoyable for those millions of people suffering from impaired vision, Samsung is adding a new picture mode to many of its new TVs.
[CES 2023] Relumino Mode: Innovation for every need | Samsung
Relumino Mode, as it’s called, works by adding a bunch of different visual filters to the picture simultaneously. Outlines of people and objects on screen are highlighted, the contrast and brightness of the overall picture are cranked up, and extra sharpness is applied to everything. The resulting video would likely look strange to people with normal vision, but for folks with low vision, it should look clearer and closer to "normal" than it otherwise would.
Excitingly, since Relumino Mode is ultimately just a clever software trick, this technology could theoretically be pushed out via a software update and installed on millions of existing Samsung TVs -- not just new and recently purchased ones.

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more