I think Google has a crush on the planet.

First, they announced a goal of achieving carbon neutrality for 2007 and beyond. Then, they unleashed their RE<C campaign (Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal), aimed at producing one gigawatt of clean electricity more cheaply than coal.

Next, you may have noticed their blacked-out search page on March 29, in support of Earth Hour, the global awareness movement to turn out the lights and turn up action on climate change.

And now, in anticipation and celebration of Earth Day (April 22), Google is winking flirtatiously at the neglected planet once more. This Earth Day, Google Checkout, the online shopping service, is encouraging users to make donations to select environmental non-profits on behalf of friends and family. (And while Grist isn’t on their list of non-profits, we too will gladly accept a little Earth Day affection.)

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But Google doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve donated, they create a personal Google Map with a marker representing your eco-lovin’ gesture. Then, once your peeps follow suit and donate too, their donation markers will be placed on your map, with a line of earthly love joining you with each subsequent person who $upports efforts to save the planet. Presto! Watch how far a little green can go.

Yep, Google’s definitely got a big crush. After all, would they make all this fuss if they didn’t think the planet was too hott for its own good?

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